This novel was exactly my type of summer read - compelling with a solid plot, but not dense. I could get lost in the intriguing characters, but still read it quickly.
The Dollhouse is the Barbizon Hotel for Women, an old New York City apartment building whose oldest residents remember the scandals from when it was an all-women residence. Perhaps most famous as Sylvia Plath's residence in "The Bell Jar," this novel centers on a fictitious scandal from the 1950s. Rose is living there in the present day, looking for a story to jump start her journalism career. As she hears rumors about Darby, one of the remaining residents from when the building housed only women, and and some sort of deahtly squabble with a maid, Rose decides this may be the story she should tell.
The novel alternates between Darby's and Rose's timelines, and Darby's is particularly fleshed out with great side characters and a jazz club. The present-day side is interesting for its unraveling of the mystery, more than for Rose's actual life. Nevertheless, the mystery is well-plotted, so I'm wary of saying anything that could accidentally give something away. This book sold me on Fiona Davis and I am excited to see what she does next. Luckily, I already received and eARC through NetGalley of her next novel, "The Address," which will be released next week!
Verdict: Affirmed. A well-plotted mystery that would be a good change of pace for someone who sticks with chick lit or literary fiction, or for a thriller reader who needs something lighter for the summer.
"The Dollhouse" by Fiona Davis, published August 25, 2016 by Dutton Books.