The Chelsea Girls

Dutton. Jul. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9781524744588. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781524744595. F
Davis (The Masterpiece) brings to life another New York City landmark through the story of two midcentury women. Hazel Riley and Maxine Mead meet as USO performers in Italy at the end of World War II, unexpectedly becoming lifelong friends. Hazel lived a fairly sheltered life in a renowned theater family while Maxine faced discrimination owing to her German-born grandmother. Yet the two young women come together to fight an injustice and find common ground. After the war, Hazel checks in to the Chelsea Hotel, renowned residence of artists, musicians, writers, and actors, which Maxine had once called home. Inspired by her surroundings, Hazel pens a play based on her experience in Italy that is soon Broadway bound. Maxine arrives from Hollywood to star, but she has a secret that will tear them apart. In the days of McCarthy's Red Scare, Hazel is labeled a communist. With her career in jeopardy and her colleagues in danger, Hazel realizes that she can no longer trust Maxine.
VERDICT This novel in three acts brings to vivid life the McCarthy era and its impact on the entertainment industry in a heartbreaking tale of the friendship of two brave women. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

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