I was lucky enough to hear the author speak at the Oxford HNS Conference and on the strength of her performance I checked out her books and even got a signed copy.
The book is a real treasure. We get a close relationship with Dolly as the character and her background are explained by use of various narrative tools: A prologue to introduce her love interest Terry, her “present” time (1923 onwards) in London with her professional ambitions and segments that tell us about Terry.
Well researched and with immaculate detail Gaynor re-creates the spirit of the 1920s, the days after the war with its economical, psychological and personal consequences; the ambitions of our heorine to make something of her life, show business and some love complications.
What I thought would be a straight forward WW1 story became much more involved and engaging than I had anticipated, with unexpected turns and a lot mroe depth.
This is a book you can really get involved in. A rich and rewarding read.
Blurb from Goodreads:
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?
Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME and A MEMORY OF VIOLETS. She was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and was a WHSmith Travel ‘Fresh Talent’ pick. She received the 2015 RNA Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award for THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME.
Hazel is one of nine contributing authors to WWI anthology FALL OF POPPIES -Stories of Love and the Great War. Her third novel THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY is available now.
As features writer for national Irish writing website writing.ie she has interviewed Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Kate Mosse and Cheryl Strayed, among others.
Hazel is represented by Michelle Brower of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth/Kuhn Projects, New York.