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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.
©2017 Fiona Davis (P)2017 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ellen Zelda on 08-08-17

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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20 of 20 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Linda Slater on 10-19-17

Should be a movie!

Absolutely riveting! I listen to audio books on my commute to and from work, and didn't want my drive to end, which is totally crazy because I drive almost 2 hours each way to work and home. This is by far one of the most capturing stories I've ever heard. The detail, the mystery, the suspense! I loved this book.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By lunarcat on 10-19-17

Very enjoyable great story lines across a century.

This is the first book I've read by Fiona Davis and was pointed in this direction by my book club.
Not to give anything away but it is a story of young women looking for where they belong.
One looking in the past from the 1980's and the other trying to make her way in a world hostile to women in the late 1880's.
It's how in 100 years some things change but some remain the same.
I really enjoy historical novels but must admit my taste is usually restricted to English social history.
This has changed my view and I will definitely read her 1st book The Dollhouse.
I listened to this on Audible my 1st attempt at listening to a book,at first I found it difficult but once I got the right reading speed I got the d hang of it.
I can't say I'd be able to multitask while listening but I'm pleased I have given it a try.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By A.Stewart on 08-26-17

Loved it!!

I was instantly transported back to the guilded days of the Dakota. Oh, how I wish I could have been a resident there. Then I was whisked forward to 1985 to meet the other players in the story. As someone who is completely obsessed with my own family history I completely get why Bailey was so determined to discover the truth of her own family story. A must read!!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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