A Novel of Dorothy Draper
by Joy Callaway
Just this morning, a friend asked what I had read recently. When I mentioned The Grand Design, she asked what made me want to read this book. So, there was the author whom I knew from another book that I liked. I also was, and am always, enticed and intrigued by historical fiction’s ability to send me to a time in the past where I can become absorbed. It is also always fascinating to learn more about people and how they grow.
This story of Dorothy Draper drew me right in. I had heard of the Greenbrier Resort which was important to DD so I was curious to learn more about her connection with it The author gives this hotel so much life and history.
DD went there as a young girl of marriageable age as is described in one of the novel’s time frames. She was taller than her female peers and felt different. Dorothy also dreamed of a less conventional life. What happened when she met an Italian race car driver at the Greenbrier? How does she get from this strong attraction to the other marriages in her life? Readers will want to know.
Before moving on, a note about Dorothy’s peers in the early section of the book. They included people like Helen Taft, the President’s daughter. I had fun looking up old newspaper clippings about many of those who were mentioned. There is so much social history in the wedding announcements.
The second time frame of the book centers on an older, wiser (?) Dorothy, who returns to the Greenbrier after WWII. The hotel had been a hospital and was quite neglected. How will it be brought back to life? Here, readers learn about DD’s immense design talents and the process of getting this huge undertaking completed.
I very much enjoyed this book. I loved the descriptions and insights into Dorothy’s love of color. It was fascinating to learn about this working woman who had her own company at a time when that was unusual. I was left curious and wanting to learn even more about Dorothy and her circle.
I highly recommend this title to those who enjoy historical fiction. Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Muse for this title. All opinions are my own.
Pub date: 17 May 2022