Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

Felicitations!  My greeting goes with the book I am featuring today.  The Walking Bread by Winnie Archer will be available on September 25 along with Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber and Forever Fudge by Nancy Coco.  There are a number of new novels coming out on September 25 (I need to find more time to read).

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis is a dual timeline novel.  It is April in 1928 in New York City where Clara Darden works as an illustration teacher at Grand Central School of Art.  She is the only female faculty member and looked down upon because she is woman and an illustrator.  After being taken under the wing of Oliver Smith, a poet and Levon Zakarian, a brash artist, Clara’s star starts to rise.  Clara becomes the go-to illustrator for Vogue and she even designs a car.  But looming on the horizon is the great depression and a horrible accident.

Virginia Clay has been divorced almost a year and is forced to get a job in 1974 New York.  After being unsuccessful as lawyer’s secretary, Virginia is assigned to the information booth at Grand Central Terminal.  The building has deteriorated over the years and now there is a lawsuit to demolish the historical landmark to pave the way for a skyscraper.  Virginia gets lost one day and stumbles into the area that once belonged to the Grand Central School of Art.  She spies a beautiful painting hidden behind a cabinet in the storage room after an unexpected encounter.  Virginia is drawn to the work of art and decides to take it with her.  Little does she know that this one act will propel her into a mystery that goes back to 1928 and will include threatening letters. 

I found The Masterpiece to be an engaging story.  It is well-written and has steady pacing.  The POV switches between Clara and Virginia as the tale unfolds.  The transitions were smooth, and it was easy to keep track of the various characters.  Fiona Davis is a descriptive writer which brings the book alive.  I could picture Grand Central Terminal in my mind along with New York from Ms. Davis’ word imagery.  I cannot believe that people wanted to demolish this architectural masterpiece.   I felt she captured the time-periods with the language, clothing, the lifestyles and attitudes.  I could tell that the author did her research and it was interesting to learn the history of the Grand Central Terminal.  Ms. Davis created realistic characters that fit into their time periods.  I preferred Clara over Virginia.  I loved the descriptions of Clara’s artwork and how she evolved as an artist.  I liked that Virginia cared for Grand Central Terminal and was willing to do what was needed to help save the building.  The mystery was clever, and readers will be surprised at the reveal.  Fiona Davis crafted a historical novel with a complex plot that will capture readers attention and hold it until the very end.  The Masterpiece is my favorite novel by Fiona Davis and it is one of the best books I have read in quite some time.

Fiona Davis has also written The Dollhouse and The Address (I was not a fan of this book).   Thank you for reading my review today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Shattered at Sea by Cheryl Hollon as part of the Great Escapes Book Tour.  May you have a remarkable day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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