One of the more interesting buildings and stories in New York City is the Barbizon Hotel for women located on Upper East 63rd Street. Now called Barbizon 63, I remember reading about the residence for young single women that was open from 1927 until 1981. Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Cybill Shepherd and Candice Bergen were all Barbizon girls. Sylvia Plath lived there for a month during her Mademoiselle magazine internship, and shortly before her nervous breakdown, she chronicled her stay in THE BELL JAR.

Nicknamed “the dollhouse” for the women who lived in the building, author Fiona Davis has written a novel about the Barbizon, titled THE DOLLHOUSE (Dutton). It blends the stories of two women, one from the 50’s, the other present day. Between its urban lore and beautiful cover, expect to see THE DOLLHOUSE head straight up the bestseller list.

It’s 1952, when Darby McLaughlin leaves the midwest for New York City, takes residence in the Barbizon Hotel, and attends the Katherine Gibbs secretarial school. Alternating with her story is Rose Lewin, a journalist in 2016, who lived in the converted Barbizon condos, but had to move out, because her boyfriend went back to his wife and family. One of the doormen tells Rose about a scandal that took place at the Barbizon back in the 50’s, and immediately Rose is investigating fact from fiction.

Present day, several women have been grandfathered into the Barbizon condos and remain in rent-controlled-residences, including, Darby McLaughlin who is rumored to have been involved in the deadly scandal. Rose Lewin is determined to get the reclusive Darby to tell her everything, but in the process discovers some very unflattering things about herself.

Fiona Davis creates very complex characters in Rose and Darby. Darby’s mother sent her to New York City to become a secretary, so she could take care of herself financially, and perhaps win a husband, but she chose to stay single. Rose Lewin hoped to married a rich man, but with her meal ticket gone, she struggles to stay a float financially. Both are strong women that readers can admire for their determination and guile in any era.

Davis highlights past and present New York City, taking readers all over the city from Brooklyn to Harlem, eating at 50’s cafeterias and cafes, listening to jazz musician greats in nightclubs and cabarets and creating a mystery and love story all in one. Ms. Davis’ debut novel blends contemporary and mid-century narratives to create an entertaining read. Readers will be intrigued by the twists and turns of the mystery, but I was most captured by the history of the building and time frame. I recommend THE DOLLHOUSE to all readers. It’s a treat!

Thanks to Fiona’s wonderful publicist, Kathleen, we have one copy of THE DOLLHOUSE to giveaway. Just tell us what your favorite building is in New York City. If you haven’t been in the City certainly you’ve seen pictures. We’ll announce a winner, Saturday, Sept. 24th. Good luck and have a wonderful weekend.

VINTAGE PHOTOS Curated by Diksha B  @ItsDiksha




32 thoughts on “THE DOLLHOUSE by Fiona Davis & GIVEAWAY

  1. My favorite building is the iconic Empire State Building. To me it just epitomizes NY. I was on NYC last year, and I was like a kid in a candy shop, squealing every time I saw that building!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not been in the city since I was a child. I remember being dressed up and wearing white gloves to have tea with my mother and grandmother and I believe it was in the Crystal Tea Room in Wanamaker. So I have to say that was my favorite building. Probably late 1950s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never been to New York City, it is on my bucket list. I have cousins that reside in Brooklyn, in fact my Uncle Al Cabbad was listed as the last Mayor of Fifth Avenue. I would love to see the buildings he has used for his businesses. But my all time favorite is Grand Central Station,I think I could sit there and watch people come and go, as well as, take in the design of the building, the windows, the bricks, the structure it is a landmark for many movies as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that building that is built in the shape of the corner it sits on. I haven’t been there since the year after 9.11, but that’s the building I liked seeing. Wish I knew what building it was! It’s fairly popular, there’s pictures of it out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I work as a travel advisor, so hearing about this book about the Barbizon really piqued my interest. I remember when we booked rooms there in the 80’s. I really would love to read this book. The Flatiron is a favorite hotel in NYC and the Chrystler Building.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When we were in New York for a couple of weeks, we entered the Grand Central Station often. It’s a beautiful building, and there’s lots to see. There are so many beautiful churches there. One beautiful one that we went to a few times was St. Bartholomew’s Church.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never been to New York City, so I would probably want to visit a lot of building before I could pick a particular one. I would definitely want to visit the Statue of Liberty & visit the 9/11 Memorial. Thanks for this generous giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was so lucky that i could visit New York City for a few days this past June. i would say the new One World Trade Center was my favorite building that i saw; it is SO beautiful inside & out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My favorite building is MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art). I love art, especially Van Gogh’s and Keith Harings, and the MoMA is just a magical place! 🖌

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve never visited, but I would go with the FlatIron Building and Grand Central Station. I could people watch forever!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.