This is Fiona Davis’s third New York City based historical novel and it is a winner! I have not read her earlier books,The Address and The Dollhouse, but may well do so now.
The Masterpiece has a dual narrative structure, one story is set in the 1920s-30’s and the other in the 1970s. The stories of Clara Darden and Virginia Clay overlap and intersect.
Darden is an illustrator, teacher and painter in the earlier era while Virginia, a divorcee, begins working at Grand Central around the time when the landmark battle was underway. Each woman has a backstory, relationships and challenges, all of which are well depicted.
Did you know that in the 1920’s there was an art school right in Grand Central? Did you know that Sargent was one of the founders? Are you interested in historical preservation? Do you enjoy a story with a plot twist? If you can answer yes to any, or all of these questions, I highly recommend this book.
Margaret and Chip appear to be the perfect couple at the start of this women’s fiction title. Both have just completed their MBAs and are on the path to high achievement. Margaret is hoping that Chip will propose to her. Not much of a spoiler because what I am writing next happens very early in the book. Chip does propose but does it in a small plane that Margaret had not wanted to fly in. There is an accident and Margaret suffers a serious injury which upends her life. The novel then tells the story of what happens to Margaret. The story is also about Margaret’s parents, her sister, Chip and his family and the hospital staff, especially Ian.
Readers will be rooting for Margaret as she figures out what to do in her life. The reader will undoubtedly enjoy spending time with her family and with Ian as well.
I enjoyed this novel which I read quickly. The author does not sugarcoat what Margaret experiences in her recovery. However this is a romance so each reader will have to decide if they want to buy into the semi-fairy-tale.
I would read other books by the author and would look forward to doing so. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-galley of the novel which I was given in exchange for an honest review.
“Center explores the limits of hope and love…[she] transforms the story of a family tragedy into a heartfelt guide to living the fullest life possible.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“With its appealing characters and wisdom about grappling with life’s challenges, Center’s sixth novel has all the makings of a breakout hit.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Inspiring and romantic… A touching and truthful novel that shows how people can find comfort in the most unexpected places.” ―Library Journal
“A story about survival that is heartbreakingly honest and wryly funny, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Elizabeth Berg.” ―Kirkus