Thursday, December 20, 2018

Book Review: The Address by Fiona Davis

Pages: 354
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: July 10, 2018
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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." 

Sara Smythe is your average housekeeper at a fancy London Hotel. The year is 1884, so the opportunities for Sara are very limited.  That is until she saves the life of a guest's child and then in turn, is offered a job in the United States at an up and coming apartment building in New York City.  Of course, Sara jumps at this new opportunity and sets sail to start over in the new world of Manhattan's Upper West Side.  But this isn't your average apartment building in Manhattan; this is something different. Something new and exciting.  It's the Dakota....a place where upper class families live together in a lavish building that people are calling the most beautiful building in the world.  The head architect, Theo, lives and works there as well.  He is the father of the child that Sara saved back in London.  But things start to get a little awkward with Theo as Sara starts to have feelings for him and vice versa.  The only problem is that he is married and his family will be coming to live at the Dakota soon.  Fast forward to 1985 in New York City.  Bailey is straight out of rehab and is an interior designer.  She ends up working on the Dakota for her relative, but while she is working there she finds out about Sara Smythe and her life.  Each narrative is told with obviously many years apart but slowly the pieces of the puzzle come together. The Address by Fiona Davis is a tale that is spellbinding, eye-opening, and wholly entertaining.

Sara is the type of character that you really want to love, but also at the same time you want to shake some sense into her.  She has the opportunity to start over in America and to make something over herself at the Dakota, but she gets involved with a married man.  I really wanted her to make different decisions, but I guess that is what makes her story compelling.  What I found truly eye-opening was the plight of women in the 1800s. It was frustrating with how they were treated and men pretty much got off scot-free.  I'm looking at you Theo.

Sara's story in The Address isn't a quiet one; in fact, it's bit of a whirlwind and had a lot more action than I expected.  There's romance, affairs, pregnancies, and even a murder! I liked how Davis told Sara's story while intertwining Bailey's story set the 1980s.  At first I had no idea how these stories would align other than the fact that they both take place at the Dakota, but let's just say more connects these two characters than just the location, so it was interesting to see how that all unfolded.  Also, the gorgeous Dakota felt like a character in its own right. Davis's descriptions of it were vivid and it was very interesting learning more about this important New York City landmark.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I urge you to check out The Address. I definitely plan on reading more of Davis's novels in the future. Have you read any of her novels? Let me know in the comments which one I should read next.


  1. I really love the cover for this one. I hadn't heard of it until this review but now I am definitely curious. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Me too. I hope you can read it soon. Thanks for visiting, Jessica!

  2. I'm just finishing up her most recent novel, The Masterpiece. I've enjoyed all her books so far, there is just so much NYC love in them.

    1. I look forward to your thoughts on her latest! Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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