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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today I am featuring a recent download.  The Dollhouse, by Fiona Davis, is a stunning debut novel that pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950’s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.





Beginning:  New York City, 2016

She’d forgotten the onions.

After all the preparation, the lists, the running out of work early to finish shopping and buy everything she needed for their special dinner, Rose had forgotten a key risotto ingredient.  She checked the pantry, but the basket was empty save for a few remnants of the papery outer layers.


56:  Darby wasn’t so sure.  The place was frightening, and she scanned the exits, wondering which was the quickest way out in case there was a fire or a fight.  All these people pressed together, in the smoke and darkness, made her heart beat faster and her mouth grow dry in panic.


Synopsis:  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.


What do you think?  Are you intrigued?  I like the dual time lines, and can’t wait to find out what the present day characters discover about the past.



    • Thanks, Sandra, this one reminded me of a book I read a book about Sylvia Plath during that time period, so I was eager to try it. I also like that there is a dual timeline that shows us a bit more from a contemporary character. Thanks for visiting.


  1. I just read The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa and there was dual timelines. It worked out quite well. I’d be interested in giving this one a go. You had me at the cover of the book and when I saw New York 1952 I knew I was going to have to add it to my list.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Danica @ Shelves of Spines

    Liked by 1 person

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