There are few buildings in New York more recognizable that The Dakota. Fiona Davis, whose historical fiction centers on NYC landmarks (see 2016’s The Dollhouse about the Barbizon Hotel) sets her most recent novel in this infamous apartment building where John Lennon was assassinated outside its doors. In this work of fiction, Davis switches between the 1880s and the 1980s, focusing on two strong female protagonists. In the 1880s, when the idea of the Dakota is in its infancy, one woman, Sara Smythe is offered a job as the female manager at the luxury building by architect Theodore Camden, opening her world to a whole new set of possibilities. Flash forward to the Dakota in the 1980s, when jobless and penniless Bailey Camden discovers a link in her ancestry to Theodore Camden, which has the power to change everything for her. A fascinating, well-knit story lodged in historical fact.
What We Lose
Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi feels distant from her mother’s South African upbringing and yet it is all around her: the feeling of not belonging, of being two things at once—black and white but not fully belonging to either. When her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi must cope without the hand that guided her through life, experiencing romances and motherhood herself without her maternal compass by her side. This debut novel is stunning and powerful and addresses with sheer beauty how to live after loss.
Summer is, hands down, one of the best seasons in which to read. You don’t even have to be on vacation to enjoy a good book—the days are nice and long, giving you a few extra hours after dinner to curl up with an engrossing novel. Before September arrives, and days begin to get shorter and schedules get busier, carve out some time to read one of these works of fiction—all written by women—or add these to your Labor Day weekend TBR pile.
Featured image: The Image Works