The Address

  • by Fiona Davis
  • Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Brittany Pressley
  • 11 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 listenable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution but the lives - and lies - of the beating hearts within.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fantastic book!

Truly enjoyed the richness of this book. I found myself looking up the Dakota just to see the architectural design and lay out of the place. The authors description making it seem so unimaginable in its opulence. It really is a beautiful old building. The story is very good. But terribly sad too. A shame that Christopher never knew his mother or knew the truth behind his birth. I did so like that Jack agreed to the test in the end. I was horrified thinking of that beautiful old apartment turning into a glorified over the top flop house for the rich and over indulged. Narrative is very good and loved her voices. Made for an excellent days listen. Also, to note the horror of both the insane asylum and the prison. But in that time women where put away for even small infractions. Great details.
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- Tanya M. Spiegel

Excellent entertainment.

The story lines of this book, while not particularly original or creative, are interwoven to provide a well-paced, interesting tale. All of the characters are very well developed, which adds to the interest value. And finally, the detail about The Dakota - the amazing, historical New York City apartment building where John Lennon was killed - is a stunning addition to the texture of the book.

Nevertheless,the stories of the two main characters - Sara and Bailey - repeat familiar novel themes. Sara is highly reminiscent of Theodore Dreiser's famous Sister Carrie. And Bailey is rather average "woman who becomes a recovering addict because she wants to find her heritage (and get some wealth along the way)." Their connection - 100 years apart - is The Dakota.

All of the elements above combine to make the reading of the book steadily compelling. The performers are wonderful to make listening a pleasure.

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- Ellen Zelda

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-01-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio