The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
8
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"oThe Dollhouse . . . That's what we boys like to call it . . . The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you.o 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."
Publisher: New York :, Dutton,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ♭2016
ISBN: 9781101984994
1101984996
Characteristics: 289 pages

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reader7176
Jul 20, 2017

Really good book for first time author Fiona Davis, I have read books before that had young women living in Barbizon Hotel for Women. It really interested me to learn the background of the Barbizon Hotel and the lives of the women who lived there. A well written and entertaining book. Look forward to more from this author.

AL_KATHY May 26, 2017

This quick read is set in 1952 New York City Barbizon Hotel for Women and 2016 Barbizon turned Condos. The story, setting and historical details makes this book come alive and tells the story of women many would overlook.

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MHanover10
Mar 16, 2017

I loved this book! It was such a fascinating story! I remember reading about the rooming houses in New York where women could go and there were set rules they had to follow. I didn't know this one was famous with several famous people living there like Sylvia Plath (one month) and Liza Minelli. I liked how the story went back in time to 1952 when things were actually happening to 2016 with Rose doing research for her article. The ending did have a twist and then another twist. This was so well worth my time!

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marthabwaters
Mar 05, 2017

I wanted to love this, but I couldn't manage it. This is a dual-timeline story, with alternating chapters from 1952 and 2016, in which the characters in the present uncover the details of a mystery from the past. And I won't deny that the way Davis structured this book was clever; you never doubt that she knows exactly what she's doing, every step of the way. However--HOWEVER. The main character in the present, Rose, sincerely acts like a lunatic for much of this book, and it got hard to read about by the end. Davis' writing style is pretty workmanlike, too -- there's no sparkle to really draw you into the prose itself. I'd recommend this as a readalike for fans of Beatriz William's and Lauren Willig's books, with the caveat that, while Davis has a knack for plotting, she's not as skilled a writer as either of those other two authors.

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D061145902
Feb 28, 2017

I loved this book. It was interesting to read this after I read The Girl Before. Both books deal with women who live in the present and in the past and have a mysterious building in their stories. Read both.

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dentongirl13
Feb 16, 2017

I didn't find it very intriguing. There was part of me that want to keep reading to solve the mystery, but I ended up quitting part way through. I think it was mostly the writing style; I just wasn't engaging.

AL_JANEC Nov 12, 2016

Combine the allure of the grande dame edifice of the Barbizon Hotel in New York City with a mysterious death, add in two compelling, strong and intriguing female characters, then sprinkle with the spice of the story line alternating between the present and the 1950s and you have all of the ingredients to make THE DOLLHOUSE a most delicious read.

shoshanalibrarian Aug 24, 2016

The Barbizon Hotel, aka "The Dollhouse," ties together the stories of two women in two different eras in New York City. Rose, a journalist living in present-day New York, lives at the Barbizon, formerly the Barbizon Hotel for Women, which has been converted into condos. She becomes curious about the older women who live there, who have been there since the days when it was a hotel exclusively for women and housed ladies such as Sylvia Plath and Joan Didion. She is particularly intrigued by Darby McLaughlin, a reclusive tenant who always wears hats with veils to hide her face, especially after she finds out that she does so to hide her scars from an incident in the early 1950s that resulted in her face being slashed and a maid at the hotel falling to her death. Rose smells a story, and begins to investigate, the pursuit of what happened to Darby becoming her lifeline as her own life begins to fall apart. The book is told in alternating chapters between Rose in 2016 and Darby in 1952. Darby is fresh from the Midwest, attending the Katie Gibbs Secretarial School to please to overbearing mother. She is completely out of her element, but starts to fall in love with the city. She befriends a maid at the hotel, Esme, who introduces her to a whole different side of New York - the gritty jazz clubs - and Darby starts to come out of her shell, finding a part of herself she never knew. What happened that fateful night? Is Darby who she says she is? This is a great novel about women in different times struggling with the same essential questions of self and self-determination, with a touch of mystery and suspense to keep the pages turning. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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