Title: The Address
Author: Fiona Davis
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Between an intriguing plot, engaging characters, gorgeous setting and two timelines that 'overlap' one another The Address has a little bit of everything a good historical fiction novel needs.
The apartment building that The Address is set at can still be seen in New York City (it's a historical building now) and I can't wait (after reading this) to visit it. The Dakota has a long history for sure; but many will know it as the building in which John Lennon was shot in front of. Sad but true. The Dakota has housed many celebrities over the years and so it naturally has many secrets in it's walls.
What makes The Address so wonderful however; is that it isn't a story about a celebrity or famous incident. Instead it's the story of a woman brought over from England looking for a better life. Her story from the late 1800's is blended with the story of a 1980's recovering alcoholic who is struggling to also find her place (as a woman) amongst all the (now past) riches of The Dakota.
Recently I have noticed a lot of historical novels using the two timeline and story approach. I personally love this when it is done well. In the Address, Fiona Davis takes us along the journey of our two leading ladies trying to find a place for themselves in the world. This is a place that doesn't include children, a husband or a lot of readily available income. There's some mysterious events and situations that unfold during their story but in the end (for me) the real plot that I loved was seeing these two women struggling, in their own ways, to survive.
I adored all the characters. Whether they were harsh and mean, gentle and rich, poor and tough or snobby and spoiled. Each one of them stood out as their own individual persona and each had a backstory and characteristics that were easily identifiable.
One way I know the characters were solid in any given book is that I can remember their names (or at least their traits) even a week after reading the book. I'm not good with names, in real life or fictional life, and so when the names or specific roles/characteristics of characters stick out to me it's very striking. Often I finish books knowing the lead, maybe a romantic interest and (of course) the villain and that's it. Fiona gave so much richness to each character (without ever being bored) that even after reading this days ago I can imagine the characters in my head.
Have you figured out that I loved this book yet?
It's truly a masterpiece of both writing, setting and characterization. Some might criticize it's loose plot; but for me it was clear that this story was about our characters and their journey to find themselves (as opposed to being about finding out a mystery; although there is some of that too).
I can't wait to purchase a print copy for my library of The Address so that one day I can pick it up off the shelf and visit my old friends.
I'm hopeful that one day I will get to experience the grandeur of The Dakota in New York City. And while others are imaging Lennon and others that lived in the building, I'll be wondering about the (not entirely fictional) characters that Davis brought to life and wondering if there are trunks of items that hold mysteries of those now lost to us.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.