I’ve always wanted to read Fiona Davis. Now that I have, I wish I hadn’t. Is that too harsh?
The Dollhouse intertwines the story of two women living at the famed Barbizon Hotel half a century apart. Darby McLaughlin: plain and lonely, enrolled in secretarial school during the 1950s. Rose Lewin: modern day journalist, romantic and professional lives collapsing.
Rose begins to investigate rumors that Darby killed a hotel maid back in the day, and that’s where the plot centers itself. But the mystery lacks spice, the characters stay thinly drawn and the setting—Miles Davis era New York—never lives up to its potential. Worse than that, an avalanche of dull dialogue fails to move the story forward.
Which is a bummer because I wanted The Dollhouse to be the most charming, stylish and sparkling period piece I’ve read since Amor Towles 2011 debut, Rules of Civility. Instead, I was left underwhelmed.
Best paired with clove, turmeric and honey spiced steak and profiteroles for dessert.