The Address: A Novel. Fiona Davis. Penguin Publishing Group. August 2017. 368 pp. ISBN#: 9781524741990.
Millions of readers might recognize the name of the Dakota Hotel as the place where John Lennon was killed, but lovers of Manhattan and its history will know this same hotel as one of the first most glamorous buildings built to house and entertain the rich and famous of the business, entertainment and political world in 1884. Our story begins in London but quickly moves to New York City where Sara Smythe has been hired as the new “Managarette” of the hotel by architect Theodore Camden. Both have very difficult jobs, trying to please aristocratic residents used to being pampered and coddled at any time of day or night.
The story quickly shifts to the same place in 1985. Bailey Camden is trying to recover from alcoholism. She’s just returned from rehab and found out her job is gone as the last drunken scene she put on gave her too much of a reputation and one that the owners didn’t want to smear the Dakota Hotel. Her cousin, Melinda, hires Bailey to do architectural work but that doesn’t last long with the appearance of someone who turns out to be a real friend.
It also turns out a mysterious object is about to be found that might lead to Bailey finding out more about her history than she’d ever imagined. But not without threats and trouble galore!
The Address is a plot-driven account of a lovely Manhattan Hotel, its founders, designers, interior decorators, and more. Even famous places have their notorious, as well as lovely, sides and Fiona Davis does a grand job of providing the reader with a mystery that brings the Camden family full circle, perhaps contrived but well done all the same.
More than that, Sara Smythe and Bailey Camden discover they are valuable human beings with and without fancy names, places and connections! THAT is the magical part of this highly recommended story!