The Dollhouse

7 CDs. 10 hrs. Books on Tape. Aug. 2016. ISBN 9781524703141. $40. digital download. F
Davis's engaging debut, which moves between 1952 and 2016, ably evokes the New York City of both periods. Darby, the earlier protagonist, comes to New York to take a secretarial course, while Rose, a former television reporter remembered fondly, if somewhat inaccurately, by the public now works at a media start-up. The women are tied by their residence, the Barbizon, an erstwhile hotel for single women that has been converted into condominiums—with the exception of the fourth floor, where the remaining early residents were moved. Rose's chance sighting of a veiled Darby fuels both her personal and professional curiosity and leads her to uncover a mystery that spans both eras. Although the novel's minor characters leave an impression, it's the richly detailed lives of Darby and Rose, more than the underlying mystery, that sustain listener interest. Narrator Tavia Gilbert gamely endeavors to give voice to the novel's distinct and geographically diverse cast of characters but isn't wholly successful.
VERDICT Recommended for general fiction collections.

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