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Book Review: ‘The Address,’ A Novel by Fiona Davis

In The Address by Fiona Davis, the opportunity to move to, and work in New York City at the Dakota, a newly built apartment for the wealthy is too wonderful to resist. Sara Smythe comes to the attention of the architect, Theodore Camden in the most unlikely of ways. She saves one of his three children to the gratification of both he and his wife. To be a female manager in 1884 was certainly an unheard-of feat, yet such an opportunity would build her life, and put her closer to Theo, the man who changed that life.

One hundred years later we meet Bailey Camden, She has been stripped of everything, a former interior designer, drugs became her way of life. Rehab has brought her back but now she must rely on others to help her through. Homeless and without any prospects she must lean on her cousin Melinda. She is the biological great granddaughter of Theodor Camden. Melinda is set to inherit the Camden fortune which includes the Dakota. Melinda allows Bailey to oversee the renovation of her apartment, the very apartment where Theodore himself resided.

Agreeing to the task, Baily is nevertheless distressed by the thought of changing the character and history of such a wonderful building. This is the room where Theodore Camden resided after being stabbed by a former employee, Sara Smythe. Sara was later found guilty and put in an insane asylum.

As Baily begins her work, little does she realize that her life will turn upside down one more time. There is a secret that others are willing to do anything to keep it from getting out. The tension builds as she begins to decipher the clues to the mystery of the past.

Davis takes you deep into the past and gives us a story of courage, bravery, love and revenge. But loss is also included, with a touch of grief that permeates the narrative. Her characters are very real, and the situation builds suddenly, dragging you in deeply, and forcing you to choose sides. Davis gives us the beauty and wonder of the time. Yet there is also a danger and darkness, willing to create chaos.

You are taken into the wonder of New York in the past, and treated to the beauties the helped to make it the city it has become. The unfolding narrative becomes just one of the stories that are scattered throughout the history of the city, but one that holds both hope and danger, keeping you reading deep into the night.

If you enjoy history, mystery, familial interactions and family tree distinctions, you will find this work to be full of all. This work will keep you reading, working to find the mystery and horrified to see how life can often change in just an instant.

This would be a delightful book for a book club or reading group. Full of nuances and subtleties, it would create a great deal of questions and debate.

About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.

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