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The Address: A Novel
By: Fiona Davis
List Price: $26.00
Your Price: $15.12
(as of: 12/16/18)
Manufacturer: Dutton
ISBN: 152474199X
Publication Date: 2017-08-01
Release Date 2017-08-01
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

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Product Description:


Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota—New York City’s most famous residence.

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.

Thirty year old Sara Smythe has been head housekeeper at a fancy London hotel for eleven years, and when an opportunity arises to relocate to New York City and forge a new path, she eagerly accepts. Sara will be managing a new apartment building being built on the outskirts of 1885 New York City – a building to be known as “The Dakota” – and she’s both excited and intimidated by the opportunity. The architect, Theo Camden, is persuasive and passionate about the project, and Sara finds that passion catching. Soon she’s managing the large staff that oversees the day to day operations at the famous building, and Sara marvels at her good fortune.

One hundred years later, Bailey Camden is eager to put her interior design skills back to work after a stint in rehab. She’s ready to help her friend Melinda redecorate the large apartment that has been in Melinda’s family for a hundred years, an apartment that happens to be located in the famed Dakota Building. Melinda has very definite ideas of modernizing the space, but Bailey’s not sure she can go along with all of Melinda’s requests.

A series of discoveries leads Bailey to dig deeper into her family history and that of the legendary building she has grown to love. That story is told in parallel with Sara Smythe’s journey from maid to mistress as New York’s Gilded Age sets the scene for the Camden family’s secrets both past and present. Scandal, architecture and high society all blend to make The Address an interesting tale of betrayal and power, of a tangled family saga that sprawls over a century before its secrets are finally set free from the walls of one of the most famous addresses in New York City. The Address is a well-balanced novel of history, duplicity and love, a perfect escape from the dog days of summer!

By: Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com

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