Book Review: The Girl From the Savoy
By: Hazel Gaynor
Published By: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Page Count: 448
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Adult - Historical Fiction
Hazel Gaynor is one of my favorite historical fiction writers. I love immersing myself in her characters. She tends to focus on the early half of the 20th century which always leads me down new paths of knowledge. This novel is no exception and focuses on multiple narrators who are living in the aftermaths of World War I. While the war ended prior to the novel's beginning, the experiences of that tragic event left their traces on the souls of the characters. Each one of them has been changed as a result and is trying to figure out how to live in their post-war reality.
Dolly Lane works as a maid in the famous Savoy hotel in London. She's close enough to the lights and glitz of the theaters to taste stardom on her tongue. Catering to the needs of the world's richest clientele also don't do much to dampen her dreams. Dolly can only hope that one day she can make her dreams a reality. On the other hand, Loretta May, has already made it in showbiz, but her life isn't the posh exterior she shows her fans. Her makeup and smile hide grief and secrets. I loved watching as post-war life unfolded for both of these ladies. Lastly, we get to see the perspective of an injured soldier as Teddy takes charge of the narrative from time to time. Teddy was Dolly's sweetheart before the war, but they have been torn apart and Teddy has no memories of their love to help stitch the pair back together.
I was fascinated by the workings of the Savoy and the duties of its staff. It was intriguing to see another side of the service industry than what would have happened in a large manor household like Downton Abbey. I also enjoyed seeing some behind the scenes of the theater world.
Gaynor has delivered an emotional and compelling tale of two women who are fighting to leave their mark on the world. I loved that she connected the past to a more recent era. I love being able to see characters in a specific moment in time and how it impacted their future. Gaynor always delivers a beautifully written, well researched journey into the past.
One Last Gripe: It took me a little while to warm up to Dolly.
Favorite Thing About This Book: Learning more about post-WWI in London
First Sentence: In my heart, I always knew he would go; they they would all go, in the end.
Favorite Character: Dolly
Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one.
Presenting a dazzling new historical novel … The Girl From The Savoy is as sparkling as champagne and as thrilling as the era itself.
Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …
Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.
When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.
But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something.
Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?