Friday, May 29, 2020

The Masterpiece

This was a fun novel to read about the 1920s in NYC.  Fiona Davis has written another fabulous historic fiction piece that centers around an iconic NY building, Grand Central Station.  This book is a dual time frame novel that is set in the late 20s and the early 1970s.  The former is immersed in the art scene of NYC pre-market crash and into the depression.  The story centers around the Grand Central art school and the illustrator Clara Darden.  She is struggling to make it in a male dominated art world and to establish herself as an illustrator which is in turn deemed as inferior art by classical artists.  Her relationships with a struggling but affluent poet and a struggling artist are at the center of the story as her career and artistic success take off.  Those relationships are at the center of the mystery in the novel.

Meanwhile we get a glimpse at the life of Virginia , a recent divorcee and her struggles to find a job outside her home.  She has quickly gone from being a well kept lawyer's wife to a struggling working woman.  She lands an unexpected job at Grand Central, which in the 1970s was not the glamorous Terminal it was in the 1920s.   Through some missteps she finds herself in the Grand Central Art School area and begins to research the school and the artist, Clara Darden.

The story weaves back and forth between the 1970s and the 1920s.  True to the style of her previous book I read, The Address, Davis weaves a great mystery and manages to have a shocking twist near the ending.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to read the rest of her works as well.  I can highly encourage anyone who is interested in Historic Fiction, particularly about art and strong female characters to read this novel.

The MasterpieceThe Masterpiece by Fiona  Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the 2nd book by Fiona Davis that I have read and I enjoyed this one as much as I did The Address. Ms Davis is very good at writing books that run in 2 timeframes. Her characters are engaging and make us want to learn more about them. She has developed strong female characters in this book who rise above challenges to survive and succeed.

There is a bit of a mystery to this story just as there was in the Address. I enjoyed reading about the Grand Central Terminal in both the 20s and 1970s. Having lived in NYC and traveled through the station numerous times it was a unique experience to see how the terminal has changed over the years. The book provides a fascinating look into the world of art back in the 1920s and a bit of a glimpse at the Equal Rights movement as well.

I recommend this book for anyone who like historic fiction and especially if you like a bit of a mystery.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book  #49
  2. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #45 set in the 1920s
  3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #8 A book 2 word title with "the"
  4. Book List Queen #7 History Book
  5. TBR Book #30  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  6. Historic Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge (Book #3)

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