The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis gives readers the stories of two young women coming of age in New York. Alternating between 1952 and 2016, they live in the same building, the once famous Barbizon Hotel for women, and its surrounding neighborhood. This novel joins historical fiction with mystery in a deft and intriguing manner.
While also creating a life for herself in 2016, Rose Lewin tries to find out what happened to a mysterious woman who lives in her building. Set in 1952, the story is about Darby McLaughlin, Rose’s mysterious neighbor, who always wears a veil. In the past, she lived alongside models and others who, like her, were attending secretarial school, and at the same time finding both her voice and her footing in this adventurous new city full of excitement.
This was quite the riveting novel. I honestly have to say that each woman's story intrigued me. Although Rose's day-to-day life is most definitely more familiar, the changes she made in her own life as she learned about Darby's was admirable. There's romance, intrigue, history and heartbreak. At times it felt as though I was on a rollercoaster ride heading for disaster, but the satisfying ending left me intrigued for what this debut author will do next.