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Book Review: The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Rachel Saylor


Fiona Davis whisks us away to New York City in the 1950's to the infamous Barbizon Hotel filled with young aspiring secretaries, models, actresses and the like all looking to secure a career, as well as scoop up a husband to bring true security. Although the Barbizon, aka the Dollhouse, is most known for the famous ladies it housed like Liza Minnelli, Grace Kelly and Sylvia Plath, Davis brings the women's only hotel into a new light, incorporating all of the women who lived there. 

The Dollhouse brings the rise of women in a man's world, the pulse of bebop jazz, the mix of spices that will send your head swimming, love, and heartache in the fast paced, dazzling New York City to create a page turner novel, making you forget mealtime, and bedtime, for that matter. 

The story is told from two women's perspectives: one from a reserved aspiring secretary living in the Barbizon in 1952 and the second from a determined journalist living in the same Barbizon building in 2016. Both women search for ways to make peace with the past, as well as create a self-relying life, sans men. That's not to say there aren't some juicy love interests throughout the book. 

This book will take you a week or less to read. Take yourself on a trip to New York City, if just for a day and experience it in the 50's. Play some bebop jazz in the background and make an exotically spiced meal to eat while you read. Trust me. You'll get it once you read the novel.