The Address

Dutton. Aug. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781524741990. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781524742003. F
Recruited by architect Theo Camden to manage the newly constructed Dakota apartments, Sara Smythe arrives in New York City from London in 1884. As she works to please the Dakota's rich clientele, Sara becomes entangled with the Camdens professionally and personally. After she becomes pregnant, a mental breakdown lands her in notorious Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum. A century later, Bailey Camden, an interior designer, finds the only job open after leaving rehab is overseeing the renovation of her Cousin Melissa's Dakota apartment. Melissa and her twin brother are "true" descendants of Theo, while Bailey's ancestor was a Camden family ward. As Bailey struggles to save vestiges of the Dakota's past, she discovers documents and artifacts that call into question accepted narratives of family history, including Sara's murder of Theo. While the Sara-Theo and Bailey-Melissa relationships are well developed in these parallel stories, some minor characters and subplots receive cursory treatment. However, descriptions of life in the asylum and living conditions of the poor are wrenching. The final chapters from both eras include swirls of revelations with a surprising villain and unexpected family connections.
VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Davis's debut novel, The Dollhouse, about another New York City residential landmark will relish this one.

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