The Dollhouse - Fiona Davis

The Dollhouse

By Fiona Davis

  • Release Date: 2016-08-23
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4
From 621 Ratings


Enter the lush world of 1950s New York City, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors live side by side in the glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in this debut novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue.

“Rich both in twists and period detail, this tale of big-city ambition is impossible to put down.”—People

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.
Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.


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  • Fabulous

    By rainbowcat5
    Inhaled this book in one sitting!
  • The Dollhouse

    By Arnies volunteer
    A good solid read; no slow parts; pretty entertaining. A nice unexpected twist towards the end....didn't see it coming. I would give it a try.
  • Too little historical background

    By D. Tilindis
    Too much feminine soul searching. Isn't there enough of that already? Women know how to do it - they are not simmering wimps. The feminine story could have been woven much better with more historic facts. There was so much rich history in the building that could have been used to draw from. The history was a skinny rabbit with only bones and no meat. And I was left hungrier after than when I arrived. Very disappointed.
  • Loved this book!

    By happytraci
    I fell upon this book by just scrolling through iBooks looking for a new read, and I'll confess..the cover drew me in, and I'm so glad it did! Just a few pages into the sample I went ahead and purchased it, and I absolutely loved it. The author painted a beautiful picture of every detail, then and now, and I can SEE the characters and settings so clearly in my mind. She is a phenomenal author and this was a lovely story. Highly recommend!
  • The Dollhouse

    By cmk81352
    Great read about a bygone era.
  • Devoured this!

    By starlette627
    Spent a long weekend with this book and couldn't put it down, it's the kind that has a sorry that hooks you and really sinks its teeth into you. Can't wait for to see what the author writes next. Great read!
  • Highly recceomend

    By Kittysf
    This was one of those books you can't put down. The author does an excellent job of taking you back to nyc 1952-2016. It's very detailed read. It transcends you to walking the streets of the old lower east side, hanging in smoke filled jazz clubs and then next your modern day, solving the mystery of the past. It really captured the essence what independent women had to endure and fear in the 50's. It was well researched. The twist at the end is not what I expected, it definitely keep you intrigued throughout the book.
  • Loved it.

    By Knit Nammy
    After reading "The Dollhouse" and being transported back to life in New York of the 1950's, all I can say is, well done! I've always been intrigued by the Barbizon's history, and this book was a delightful read in terms of character, setting, and plot. I highly recommend this as a book to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.
  • Quite a debut...

    By uprise24
    ...for a first time writer. Very engaging book, but couldn't give 5* because the cuts between the 2 stories became too bewildering if I skipped a day reading, I'd be befuddled. A little longer than it should have been....ok, a lot longer. Interesting history, in fact I kept going out & searching the building, jazz club, etc. and it was a great bonus. I'd recommend this book.