If Walls Could Talk, Imagine the Stories ‘The Address’ Could Tell [REVIEW]

The Dakota

In The Address, Fiona Davis captures two very disparate stories of love and madness within one of New York City’s most historic addresses, The Dakota. (Photo by Wally Gobetz, Flickr)

Visitors to New York City’s Upper West Side have undoubtedly seen the Dakota, an apartment building which opened back in 1884, back when the landscape was desolate and unpopulated. With its unusual looming rooftop, wrought iron monsters and tall forbidding windows, this historic structure lacks warmth and prods imaginations to run wild. Now, in The Address, Fiona Davis throws open the doors and invites us inside to tell us a haunting tale of love and murder and of two very different women living one hundred years apart. 

Fiona Davis's THE ADDRESS


Sara Smythe has always been ambitious, even if her mother had bigger dreams for her than working as a domestic. Still, her skills don’t go unnoticed, particularly when she saves a little girl from falling out a window to her death at a London hotel. In fact, the girl’s father, Theodore Camden, is so enamored with Sara, he invites her to accept a job as the female manager at the Dakota, a newly-minted apartment building in New York City. After much deliberation, she packs up her belongings and boards a ship for America.

Fast forward to 1985 when interior designer Bailey Camden leaves rehab only to discover that no one will hire her, and even her friends have turned their backs to her when she needs them most. Unsure where else to turn or what to do next, her “cousin,” Melinda, offers her a job redecorating her lavish apartment at the Dakota—the very apartment where Theodore Camden was murdered by a former employee named Sara Smythe after she is released from an insane asylum where she spent seven months.

Separated by a century, Sara and Bailey struggle to survive in a tempting world filled with excess, wealth, and sin. But it is also a world corrupted by tragedy, lies, and madness. Drawn toward one another by a building whose walls hide the darkest of secrets, Bailey is destined to learn the truth, and it will shatter everything she knows about the famed architect and the woman who killed him.

With The Address, Fiona Davis has crafted an exceptional novel that lingers in the mind long after it is finished. The story’s protagonists are like many modern women, captivating and adventurous, as they both try to construct new lives for themselves in a building that is described as a “Bavarian behemoth.” Readers won’t be able to resist following them down the labyrinthine halls of the Dakota as their stories and revealed. Haunting, imaginative, and yet deeply moving, this is historical fiction at its best.


Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis
(Photo by Kristen Jensen)

Fiona Davis was born in Canada and raised in New Jersey, Utah, and Texas. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater.

After ten years, Fiona changed careers, working as an editor and writer, and her historical fiction debut, The Dollhouse, was published in 2016.

She’s a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is based in New York City.

Visit Fiona at her home on the Web at FionaDavis.net, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Fiona Davis
368 pgs. Dutton. $26.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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