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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

ARC Review: The Address by Fiona Davis

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33607640-the-address?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an advance reader's copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she'd make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility--no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one's station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey's grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won't see a dime of the Camden family's substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda--Camden's biological great-granddaughter--will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda's vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell's Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages--for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City--and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich--and often tragic--as The Dakota's can't hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden--and the woman who killed him--on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives --and lies--of the beating hearts within.


Review:
New York in the Gilded Age.  Whether is was the 1880's or the 1980's, both were times filled with excesses.  People showed off their wealth and power, by living it up in gaudy homes, throwing lavish parties, and thumbing their noses (in the 1980's snorting their noses) at convention.  This book is everything I adore about historical fiction.  The details that transport the reader to each time are amazing, as are the stories of the two women that are at the heart of the novel.

What I Liked:
Time Periods:
There are two distinct time periods in this book, the 1880's and the 1980's.  Both have such wonderful details that I feel that I am actually in each era. 

1980's:
I was an adult in the 1980's so I can attest to all the cringe-worthy style of the time.  From giant shoulder pads and pastel sponged walls, to clubbing and cocaine binges, the 1980's was all about excess.  For Bailey who is just out of rehab, staying sober is a challenge when all your friends are drinking and doing drugs.  

1880's:
The style of the 1880's was no less ostentatious.  The lifestyles of the ultra wealthy were celebrated in the newspapers of the day.  It was the Gilded Age, and people wanted their homes to be bigger and more glittering than their neighbor's.  Even though Sarah is used to the demands of the wealthy in England, she is surprised by the luxury and waste of New York.

Stories:
 I never felt irked when the author went from the 1880's to the 1980's and back again, because both stories had my attention.  Combining the two women's narratives compels the reader keep reading.  The central mystery of why a certain character was killed kept me up late reading for several nights.

Characters:
Although Sarah and Bailey are very different characters, I could feel empathy for both women's predicaments.  For Sarah, trying to make her own way in life, isolating herself from others seems to be her way of keeping safe.  Anyone she lets get close to her winds up hurting her.  Bailey is similarly aloof.  She doesn't feel worthy of friendship after becoming addicted to alcohol.  It takes a long time for Bailey to stop being hard on herself and accept the friendship of Renzo, and other tenants of the building.  I think that is the thing both women have in common: incredibly low self-esteem.

If you love historical fiction, this book is a page-turner.  With it's compelling story, characters, and sense of time, there is plenty to enjoy about this book.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33607640-the-address?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Address-Novel-Fiona-Davis/dp/152474199X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501310990&sr=8-1&keywords=the+address+fiona+davis

https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Address-Fion-Davis/9781524741990?ref=grid-view&qid=1501311047264&sr=1-1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-address-fiona-davis/1125365729?ean=9781524741990



Rating: 





Release Date:  August 1st, 2017

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Pages:  368 pages

Source:  Edelweiss

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  An excellent choice for a book club as there is plenty to discuss regarding these women's choices.
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