The Masterpiece

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Fiona Davis mixes the perfect amount of historical fiction with interesting characters and engaging plots.  Shifting between Clara’s story of life in NYC in 1929,an artist at an art school in Grand Central Terminal, with Virginia’s story, of a divorcee in 1974 NYC trying to find her footing, you will feel an attachment to the city and Grand Central.  Clara is an illustrator, trying to break through the world of male dominated art.  Virginia is at a loss after her divorce, living with her daughter Ruby, a budding photographer.  I enjoyed it and recommend.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVED this book!! Fiona Davis writes my idea of the perfect book. A great blend of history and mystery. Her books make me want to run off to the library and learn more about all the things she's writing about. After every book I want to run off to New York City.
Was this review helpful?
Fiona Davis has wow’ed once again!!!  If you are historical fiction fan and you haven’t read Fiona Davis yet, you need to remedy that ASAP!  Fiona intricately blends history and mystery to create storylines that are addictive and captivating!  In The Masterpiece, we follow two amazingly strong women who although their journeys are 47 years apart, they share the connection of a mystery painting. I enjoyed time hopping between 1928 and 1974 and as per usual with Fiona’s books, I learned a lot about those time periods.  The Masterpiece is a 5 star novel that would make the perfect beach read!  If you’re in the mood to read a book that you won’t be able to put down than The Masterpiece is for you!
Was this review helpful?
Loved Fiona Davis' new book.  Her female characters are always strong and resourceful, no matter what time period she places them in.  Davis captured New York City in the 1970's perfectly. Fiona Davis in now one of the authors whose work I eagerly anticipate. #netgalley #themasterpiece #fionadavis
Was this review helpful?
A bit of a Hallmark movie flair to this story of a female illustrator in the 1920's paralleled to the saving of Grand Central Terminal in the 1970's. A depiction of strong, independent women in both eras. Throw in an appearance by Jackie O and anything can happen. The author tells of her inspiration in the afterword and although her characters are fictional, Davis brings them to life as well as the historical setting of the narration. A fast and feel good read.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Fiona Davis has the amazing ability to transport the reader back in time as well as bring New York City landmarks to life. If you've enjoyed her other books then this one will be no different. If you've never read any of her books - what are you waiting for?! I could feel Clara's frustration at being treated differently because she's a woman. I could feel the desperation and worry as the Great Depression settled in. I loved Clara's story and I did eventually grow to love Levon Zakarian. There's something about that era, being taken back and seeing the beauty of the Grand Central terminal. But Virginia's story was good as well. I liked that she and her daughter were close and could get strength and support from one another and I liked seeing Virginia grow into someone who can be comfortable in her own skin. And that cover - gorgeous!
Was this review helpful?
Clara, an artist and teacher at the Grand Central School of Art, struggles to find a way to keep her job in the pre-Depression years in New York City. Virginia Clay, a divorced and struggling single mom, gets a job in Grand Central Terminal's information booth in 1974 when the decline of the once-grand building is facing its toughest battle. Fiona Davis once more brings to life in rich detail a New York City landmark during two distinct and different time periods. The characters of both time periods, the art scene in NY before the Great Depression nearly destroyed it and the artists, the faded glory of Grand Central Terminal in the late 70's and the fight to restore it come to life in this incredible story. Fiona Davis is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of historical fiction!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars

The Masterpiece is Fiona Davis’ best book to date, and I have loved all three of her books.  New York City is one of my favorite places to visit, and each of Davis’ books contains a myriad of fascinating details about a particular building and era in the city.  The Masterpiece focuses on Grand Central Terminal (I never knew it was Grand Central Terminal versus Grand Central Station) during the late-1920’s and the mid-1970’s, two very different time periods for the terminal.  In 1928, Clara Darden works as an art instructor in the Grand Central School of Art located high up in the terminal when Grand Central Terminal is beautifully maintained and a highlight of the city; in 1974, Virginia Clay is newly divorced and sent by a temp agency to work at the terminal when Grand Central has seen better days and is being targeted for demolition.  The story alternates between the two time periods, and Davis fabulously recreates the atmosphere and relevance of the terminal in both time periods.  As the stories progress, the two tales converge in a surprising and satisfying manner.

My favorite part of the book was the focus in 1974 on the importance of trying to save Grand Central Terminal from demolition.  I love visiting the terminal when I am in the city and am thankful that Jackie Onassis and others had the sense and ability to preserve the beautiful landmark.  I also loved learning more about the inner workings of the terminal.

I highly recommend The Masterpiece; it is a beautiful read.
Was this review helpful?
I love a good work of historical fiction and Fiona Davis' latest novel delivered everything I love in a good story.  Two parallel narratives provide colourful backdrops to our two main female characters.  Clara, a modern woman and aspiring commercial illustrator and artist in 1928 wants to be more than an art teacher, she wants to illustrate magazine covers for Vogue.  Virginia, a divorcee and mother living in 1974 wants to prove to herself and her daughter that she can care for both of them on her own.  Both their lives are centered on events that take place in New York's Grand Central Terminal. 

The string of events that eventually weave the lives of these two women together introduces us to a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Terminal as well as the art school and it's teachers during the 1920s and 30s.  Plenty of drama, romance and fascinating facts about New York history will keep you up until you finish the book.
Was this review helpful?
I love Fiona Davis books, and the latest is a triumph.  So wonderful to learn more about GCT and it’s history.  As always, her stories move at a fine pace, and educate.  Happy to help make this a deserved bestseller.
Was this review helpful?
A New York City architectural icon, Grand Central station, and an art world mystery combine in this intriguing novel told in 2 time periods. In the 1970s newly divorced Virginia takes a job in dilapidated Grand Central Station when she discovers a painting in a storage room in what used to be Grand Central School of Art. Virginia is drawn to the painting and wants to know more. The other part of the story takes place in the 1920s and is the story of Clara Darden, the only female teacher at the Grand Central School of Art and her art and life. A story of women making their way and finding their place in a world dominated by men.
Was this review helpful?
Are you, like me, fascinated by Grand Central Terminal?  Love books that feature art and artists?  Love books featuring strong women?  Fiona Davis has written a great book with all these elements.  If you enjoyed her previous novels, you will be over the moon with "The Masterpiece."  It's brilliant and not to be missed.
Was this review helpful?
I'd never read Fiona Davis, but I'm glad I did. This historical fiction captivated me and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely love Fiona Davis' books. The descriptions of the characters and the rich history of the settings are always able to pull me right in. The Masterpiece is no different. Set in The Grand Central Terminal in NYC in the years 1928 and 1974, Clara and Virginia must discover what they are truly made of; if they are women to be walked over or reckoned with.  
Clara is a fiercely dedicated illustrator with lofty goals that would be hard for a male artist to reach, let alone a female artist.  But with the help of her two paramours she achieves her goals and even goes further than anyone expects. 
Virginia is a recently divorced woman of a certain age. She and her college aged daughter must fend for themselves in the dirty and often scary City. Virginia takes a job at the Grand Central Terminal where she stumbles across a mystery involving Clara, and a way to save the Terminal from those that would tear the historical site down. 
The way Fiona Davis describes the events, parties and characters makes you feel like you are sipping illegal champagne during prohibition.  Or seeing the dirty and neglected building of the Terminal through Virginia's eyes and wanting to be a part of saving it. Like in her other books, Davis brings history to life and makes me wish time travel were possible.
Was this review helpful?
This is a wonderful historical fiction novel. Both of the parallel narratives are intricately plotted with interesting main characters. I couldn’t put the book down and look forward to reading the author’s previous two novels!
Was this review helpful?