It seems that once a year I write a book review about the latest Fiona Davis book and every single year, I think one is better than the next. This year is no different. 

I don't know why it takes me forever to read my favorite author, I think I'm constantly trying to savor the idea of having an unread book in my TBR pile. The Magnolia Palace was released last year and I received it as one of my Book of the Month picks. I just finished reading it earlier this month and have to say, it was delightful.

It wasn't my favorite Fiona Davis book but it was still one of my favorite books, if that makes sense. I enjoyed reading it so much, and I always appreciate how much I learn about New York and history in general when I read her novels.

They are the perfect mix of history, fiction, art and romance. All of her novels go back and forth between past and present...though sometimes the 'present' is not in the 21st century, which is ok! It makes everything more fun.

There are always multiple stories going on within the book and usually a twist, reminiscent of our favorite thrillers that make the entire book come together in a beautiful, unexpected way.

The Magnolia Palace followed that formula and did it beautifully.

Publisher's Summary

Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter's life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists' models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate—the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. 

So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion—a building that, ironically, bears her own visage—Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family—pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly fifty years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career—and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home—within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City's most impressive museums. But when she—along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua—is dismissed from the 
Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica's financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.

My Thoughts

I don't know if I've ever heard the name 'Frick' before this book but after I read it, I did start to take notice of wherever it was mentioned. That's one of my favorite parts about Davis' writing, you are always discovering something new while she blurs the line of fact and fiction.

This was the kind of book where I loved reading both past and present; I found both Lillian and Veronica to be fascinating; they were so similar and it felt like there was a kinship there while reading both perspectives. I thought both time periods were interesting and fun, and leant a lot to the story.

I wasn't sure how the past were going to meet but as you read and understand both sides of the story, it becomes a little clearer. However, even with that clarity the series of events that follows is shocking and not what I suspected at all.

There is a lot of rich artistic history woven throughout the lines of the book and it was fun to read about; there is this whole other world of New York history out there that I don't know. It was so interesting to follow the search for the Magnolia Diamond, to wait and hear about how Lillian found her way out of the Frick Mansion, and what Joshua & Veronica discovered at the end of the snowed in journey. 

There were unanswered questions around every corner but it all came together eventually. The ending was truly beautiful and it warmed my heart through and through.

Fiona Davis' writing is out of this world. She tells a story like no other; it's time she was there in the moment she is speaking about. I love how her mind works, I love how she connects every bit of the story together and how it all comes together in the end. 

There is nothing like a Fiona Davis novel and I can't wait for her latest one, The Spectacular about the Radio City Rockettes (!!!!!) which is being released in June. 


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