The Masterpiece
In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist." Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded--even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter--Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they'll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece--an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

The Masterpiece Details

TitleThe Masterpiece
Author
ReleaseAug 7th, 2018
PublisherDutton
ISBN-139781524742959
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, New York

The Masterpiece Review

  • Book of Secrets
    January 1, 1970
    THE MASTERPIECE is about two women, fifty years apart, whose parallel stories suddenly intersect at New York City's historic Grand Central. It's clearly well researched regarding what was happening at the train station in the late 1920s and early 1970s, on the verge of the Great Depression, and later, at risk of being demolished. I have mixed feelings about this book. While I thought Clara's story in the earlier time period was more interesting, I never quite warmed to Clara's character (though THE MASTERPIECE is about two women, fifty years apart, whose parallel stories suddenly intersect at New York City's historic Grand Central. It's clearly well researched regarding what was happening at the train station in the late 1920s and early 1970s, on the verge of the Great Depression, and later, at risk of being demolished. I have mixed feelings about this book. While I thought Clara's story in the earlier time period was more interesting, I never quite warmed to Clara's character (though I was sympathetic to her struggles). And while Virginia was likable and relatable, her story in 1974 wasn't as gripping. The plot seemed to struggle to move forward at times, and I had trouble staying engaged. The twist at the end was a good one, though! I think readers with an interest in the 1920s art scene will enjoy this book. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThe 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 4.5 starsThe 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.
    more
  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    I jumped on the chance to read this because I really liked Fiona Davis's last book, The Address. The action goes back and forth between 1920s New York City in which Clara is teaching at Grand Central School of Art and trying to make it big as an illustrator and the 1970s in which newly divorced Virginia Clay is working at the Grand Central Terminal. Virginia stumbles upon a watercolor in the abandoned art school and sets out find the artist. This is a historical fiction book which also focuses o I jumped on the chance to read this because I really liked Fiona Davis's last book, The Address. The action goes back and forth between 1920s New York City in which Clara is teaching at Grand Central School of Art and trying to make it big as an illustrator and the 1970s in which newly divorced Virginia Clay is working at the Grand Central Terminal. Virginia stumbles upon a watercolor in the abandoned art school and sets out find the artist. This is a historical fiction book which also focuses on the real life effort to save Grand Central from being replaced with an office tower.Even though I don't have a big interest in the art world, I actually enjoyed that aspect of the story. What I loved about the book was the female characters who might have been down on their luck but really showed their strength when the going got tough. There was one part of the plot towards the end that I didn't really care for as it was a bit of an eye-roller but the story redeemed itself by the end. Definitely recommend if you like historical fiction and strong female characters.Thank you to First to Read for the advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
    more
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Fiona Davis was one of the first HF authors I read and enjoyed, I loved both The Dollhouse and The Address and have been super excited about The Masterpiece. Davis has honed a keen ability to write dazzling stories about NYC, she really brings the city to life and truly sweeps you away to a different time and place.This is told via a dual narrative flipping from the 1920s where Clara is a young artist trying to break in to a world where men rule and then Virginia in the 1970s as she also faces o Fiona Davis was one of the first HF authors I read and enjoyed, I loved both The Dollhouse and The Address and have been super excited about The Masterpiece. Davis has honed a keen ability to write dazzling stories about NYC, she really brings the city to life and truly sweeps you away to a different time and place.This is told via a dual narrative flipping from the 1920s where Clara is a young artist trying to break in to a world where men rule and then Virginia in the 1970s as she also faces obstacles in a male dominated society. I adored both of these strong, female characters, even being fifty years apart they faced many of the same issues and had similar struggles and were both so brave and determined. Though their narratives both seemed connected in a loose manner I never guessed just how cleverly Davis would weave their tales together.The rich and vibrant history of Grand Central Terminal was absolutely fascinating to me, I had no idea that at one time it was almost torn down! Besides the interesting bits of history you have some romance and even a mystery, a little bit of everything for everyone. HF will love this one and if you’re new to the genre Davis is a great author to start with, she’s fabulous!The Masterpiece in the words: Dazzling, Captivating and Impassioned.
    more
  • BookGypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing!The story is centered around New York's Grand Central Terminal and two women that worked there during different eras. Clair,a young woman who teaches at the art school in the 1920's. But dreams of doing the cover for Vogue. Later in the 1970's the Grand Central is much different and more dangerous than in the 1920's we meet Virginia. Recently divorced who takes a job at the information booth to support herself and her daughter Ruby. When Virginia happens to discover the old art school sh Amazing!The story is centered around New York's Grand Central Terminal and two women that worked there during different eras. Clair,a young woman who teaches at the art school in the 1920's. But dreams of doing the cover for Vogue. Later in the 1970's the Grand Central is much different and more dangerous than in the 1920's we meet Virginia. Recently divorced who takes a job at the information booth to support herself and her daughter Ruby. When Virginia happens to discover the old art school she finds a painting and sets out to find the artist. Unraveling the mystery of Clair who disappeared.I loved this story. Being transported back in time to New York in the 1920's is always a favorite for me. The history of the Grand Central and the world of art. I found this story of these two women captivating. As stunning and beautiful as the cover.Thank YouNet GalleyDawnBookGypsyNovels N LatteBook Blog
    more
  • Jamie Rosenblit
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!I am really happy to be able to say I have read all of Fiona Davis' books and have loved them all! When I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Masterpiece, it was a no brainer. One thing that I especially love about Fiona's books are that they take place in my very own city of New York! I love being able to visualize the places she discusses and how they must have looked back when the book was set. The Masterpiece takes place in both the 1920s and the 1970s (I love 4.5 stars!I am really happy to be able to say I have read all of Fiona Davis' books and have loved them all! When I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Masterpiece, it was a no brainer. One thing that I especially love about Fiona's books are that they take place in my very own city of New York! I love being able to visualize the places she discusses and how they must have looked back when the book was set. The Masterpiece takes place in both the 1920s and the 1970s (I love me a good dual timeline) and deals with Grand Central Terminal - coincidentally, Grand Central is about a block from my office and I have lunch there nearly every day! I love to learn to guess how the timelines will come together in Fiona's books and see if I can spot the clues along the way. I found Clara and Virginia to both be strong female characters who I enjoyed getting to know in the pages of The Masterpiece - but, I will say, it's Fiona's writing that is the real Masterpiece here!I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON AUGUST 8."What would an art school teacher and an information booth attendee have in common besides Grand Central since the women lived 50 years apart? You would be surprised.THE MASTERPIECE was focused on the artists of New York and the history of Grand Central. Did you know that Grand Central had been in jeopardy of being torn down?Ms. Davis has created another beautiful “masterpiece” that historical fiction fans, New York City fans, mystery fans, and artists will love. FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON AUGUST 8."What would an art school teacher and an information booth attendee have in common besides Grand Central since the women lived 50 years apart? You would be surprised.THE MASTERPIECE was focused on the artists of New York and the history of Grand Central. Did you know that Grand Central had been in jeopardy of being torn down?Ms. Davis has created another beautiful “masterpiece” that historical fiction fans, New York City fans, mystery fans, and artists will love. Make THE MASTERPIECE part of your required summer reading.This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher. All opinions are my own."
    more
  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    Historical Fictional novel, The Masterpiece, has two POVs, two different decades: fifty years apart, two Masterpieces and one mystery. Imbedded within are two intelligent and talented women fighting for their right to have a voice in their lives, especially regarding their livelihoods. In 1928, Clara Darden is a young struggling artist trying to keep her new job as an assistant instructor at the famed Grand Central Art School, ‘tucked under the eaves’ on the 7th floor of the Grand Central Termin Historical Fictional novel, The Masterpiece, has two POVs, two different decades: fifty years apart, two Masterpieces and one mystery. Imbedded within are two intelligent and talented women fighting for their right to have a voice in their lives, especially regarding their livelihoods. In 1928, Clara Darden is a young struggling artist trying to keep her new job as an assistant instructor at the famed Grand Central Art School, ‘tucked under the eaves’ on the 7th floor of the Grand Central Terminal (GCT).In 1974, Virginia Clay is a newly divorced mother of one, trying to find her footing in NYC, home for the last 20 years, but now as a single woman. Finances are tight as she and her 21-year-old daughter, move into a small apartment and look for jobs neither have qualifications for.Our first Masterpiece is Grand Central Terminal itself, in my opinion. The GCT was finally completed in 1913, although begun by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1869, at its present location. By the mid-1960’s it fell into disrepair and a proposal to build a 55-story tower on top of it was proposed in 1967. Ms. Davis covers the almost 10-year litigation in this book to save GCT and designate it as a National Historic Landmark.The second Masterpiece is a painting, named “The Siren” by an unknown artist who signed the painting as, ‘Clyde.” The mystery surrounds this painting. Who really painted it, where has it been for the last forty years, and who placed it in auction? The reader will unravel these answers in an appropriate and timely manner. You will not be bored but filled with anticipation and suspense. There are other characters that play into the lives of the women, especially their amours, but I prefer not to mention them for fear of revealing information that might spoil your fun.This is Fiona Davis’ best book to date; I highly recommend it!Thank you NetGalley, Dutton – Penguin Random House, and Fiona Davis
    more
  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting story centered on the Grand Central Terminal in NYC told from the viewpoint of two different women, 50 years apart. Clara Darden is an instructor at the famed Grand Central Art School in the 1920's struggling to make a career as an illustrator. Virginia Clay is a newly divorced woman in 1974 trying to make a new life with her young adult daughter, Ruby. Clara tries hard to make a success at her art which is difficult as a woman in 1928. She gets a temporary job teaching students An interesting story centered on the Grand Central Terminal in NYC told from the viewpoint of two different women, 50 years apart. Clara Darden is an instructor at the famed Grand Central Art School in the 1920's struggling to make a career as an illustrator. Virginia Clay is a newly divorced woman in 1974 trying to make a new life with her young adult daughter, Ruby. Clara tries hard to make a success at her art which is difficult as a woman in 1928. She gets a temporary job teaching students and calls on magazines and businesses to sell her illustrations. Illustrator and water color painters are looked down upon in the art world but she doesn't give up. She makes friends with a fellow instructor and a male model. She becomes Vogue Magazine first female illustrator and becomes quite successful until the Depression happens. The devastation is horrible. Clara is not the most likable character but she is very real with flaws. Virginia is trying to make a new life after her divorce and gets a job at the Information Booth at the Grand Central Terminal. She falls in love with the building and works to save it from Penn Central who wants to demolish it and build a skyscraper instead. She joins the Jackie Kennedy cause for it's preservation, uncovers a mystery and gets someone their long, overdue rewards. I really liked the history and the voices of two women who are not always likable but struggle to make their way in the world and have their voices heard. This was an enjoyable read that I think is her best yet. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
    more
  • Celia
    January 1, 1970
    A well-written and engaging historical fiction novel centering on a NYC iconic edifice: Grand Central Terminal. Two women, separated by 50 years, are featured in this book. Clara Darden is an illustrationist at Vogue Magazine and also teaches illustration at Grand Central School of Art. Clara is modelled after the real illustrationist Helen Dryden. Virginia Clay is a divorcee with a college age daughter, who in 1974, is struggling to become independent and self-sufficient. She is able to obtain A well-written and engaging historical fiction novel centering on a NYC iconic edifice: Grand Central Terminal. Two women, separated by 50 years, are featured in this book. Clara Darden is an illustrationist at Vogue Magazine and also teaches illustration at Grand Central School of Art. Clara is modelled after the real illustrationist Helen Dryden. Virginia Clay is a divorcee with a college age daughter, who in 1974, is struggling to become independent and self-sufficient. She is able to obtain a job at Grand Central Terminal at the information booth.The two women’s stories are interwoven in a seamless way. And those stories are BOTH captivating. The story of Grand Central Terminal and Penn Central’s fight to raze it and build a 55 story high rise is also explored.I read about Helen Dryden on Wikipedia and noted the similarities between Clara and Helen. I was able to also view Dryden’s Vogue covers. Fiona Davis’ Author’s Note at the end of the book also clarifies what is fact and what is fiction in the story. 5 stars
    more
  • Amy Bruno
    January 1, 1970
    LOVED! Full review to come.
  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City's most iconic landmarks. Fiona Davis' latest novel weaves together two stories nearly 5 decades apart. From 1928 and the imminent Great Depression to 1974 and the city's deterioration and the impending closure of the terminal, two women and their lives are bound together by one of the most exceptional masterpieces and beloved structures in the world.
    more
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    There are a few authors that I automatically buy their books without reading a description. Fiona Davis is now firmly on that list! After reading The Dollhouse and The Address, I knew The Masterpiece was going to be amazing and I was not disappointed! This story has a little mystery and romance set amid the glorious Grand Central terminal. Historical fiction lovers, this is a must read!
    more
  • Camille Maio
    January 1, 1970
    Another great read by Fiona Davis, cementing her place in the world of historical fiction. This one illuminated the little-known art school that was housed at Grand Central in the early part of the 20th century and the better-known struggle to save the station from destruction in the 70s. Mix in love, women's issues, and a touch of mystery, and Davis will have another hit on her hands!
    more
  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Fiona Davis brings to life the story of Grand Central Terminal and the fight to preserve its Landmark status in this historical fiction tale!The story alternates between the lives of two strong female characters- Virginia Clay who is a 1970’s New York City divorcee trying to resume her life as a single woman, and Clara Darden, an artist and fashion illustrator who is trying to establish her reputation as a talented artist in 1920-1930’s New York City.The alternating stories of the two women are Fiona Davis brings to life the story of Grand Central Terminal and the fight to preserve its Landmark status in this historical fiction tale!The story alternates between the lives of two strong female characters- Virginia Clay who is a 1970’s New York City divorcee trying to resume her life as a single woman, and Clara Darden, an artist and fashion illustrator who is trying to establish her reputation as a talented artist in 1920-1930’s New York City.The alternating stories of the two women are hard to put down as each one tries to succeed in a society where women’s achievements are secondary to those of their male counterparts. Virginia begins a job at Grand Central Terminal where she accidentally stumbles upon the area formerly occupied by the Grand Central School of Art. She discovers an old watercolor painting and her interest is aroused about its origins. With her background in art history she begins to research the former art school. Clara is the artist who painted the watercolor. It was the preliminary sketch for her masterpiece, The Siren. Told through the eyes of the two main characters, this story evokes a real sense of place as well as an understanding of the times in which the characters lived. This is a well written, absorbing, and enjoyable novel about relationships, art, ambition, and intrigue! Thank you to First to Read, Dutton, and author Fiona Davis for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC of this entertaining book.
    more
  • Cori
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading this book and looked forward to learning more about the world of art and Grand Central Terminal while I read. Both of the alternating timelines had me hooked. Virginia was a mom struggling in the 70s and her strength was remarkable. Clara was an amazing artist working to be a trailblazer for women in the 1920s. This is the 2nd book by Fiona Davis I have read and the second time I have felt that I am living in NYC right along with the characters with her wonderful writing style I enjoyed reading this book and looked forward to learning more about the world of art and Grand Central Terminal while I read. Both of the alternating timelines had me hooked. Virginia was a mom struggling in the 70s and her strength was remarkable. Clara was an amazing artist working to be a trailblazer for women in the 1920s. This is the 2nd book by Fiona Davis I have read and the second time I have felt that I am living in NYC right along with the characters with her wonderful writing style and details. Highly Recommended. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for the opportunity to read this fabulous book!
    more
  • Heather Fineisen
    January 1, 1970
    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 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
    more
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Revolving around the Grand Central Terminal of New York City, we are told the story of two different women in two different time periods. Slow paced but beautifully written, we gradually learn about the growing success of illustrator and artist Clara Darden just before the Depression and a tragic accident ruins her life. Fast forward, Virginia Clay in the 1970s is still reeling from surviving breast cancer only for her husband to divorce her. When she stumbles upon an old art school that used to Revolving around the Grand Central Terminal of New York City, we are told the story of two different women in two different time periods. Slow paced but beautifully written, we gradually learn about the growing success of illustrator and artist Clara Darden just before the Depression and a tragic accident ruins her life. Fast forward, Virginia Clay in the 1970s is still reeling from surviving breast cancer only for her husband to divorce her. When she stumbles upon an old art school that used to exist in the Grand Central Terminal, she suddenly finds meaning and purpose in discovering what happened to Clara Darden and who the mysterious artist who called himself 'Clyde' really was. That's not to say it's a mystery. This novel is very much about the journey and learning about the characters, who are well fleshed out.I adored the detailed descriptions of artwork and fashion and although it was slow paced, it was never boring. I enjoyed reading about both women come into their own and rediscover themselves.Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.Historical Readings & Reviews
    more
  • Katie (katieladyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    I ended up really enjoying this one and learning all about Grand Central Terminal! I loved the feminist vibes and the alternating timelines between the late 1920s and the 1970s. While a little predictable/cheesy at points, overall it was well done and I found the ending wrapped it up nicely.
    more
  • Gwendolyn
    January 1, 1970
    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. Bu 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.I received an ARC of this book.
    more
  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Fiona Davis' books are just so captivating. I am fangirling all over! I just completed a marathon read of The Masterpiece followed by The Dollhouse (which I have been dying to read since I heard about it in 2016). I have a major book hangover. The Masterpiece has two timelines, two narratives, two strong women. Clara Darden in 1928, a single woman, artist living in NYC and teaching illustration at Grand Central School of Art, located in Grand Central Terminal, of course. Virginia Clay in 1974, i Fiona Davis' books are just so captivating. I am fangirling all over! I just completed a marathon read of The Masterpiece followed by The Dollhouse (which I have been dying to read since I heard about it in 2016). I have a major book hangover. The Masterpiece has two timelines, two narratives, two strong women. Clara Darden in 1928, a single woman, artist living in NYC and teaching illustration at Grand Central School of Art, located in Grand Central Terminal, of course. Virginia Clay in 1974, is a divorced mother of a college aged daughter. Virginia takes a job working at the information booth located inside the Grand Central Terminal. The terminal in the 70's is a far cry from the gem it once was in the early 20th century. It's dirty and crime ridden, but Virginia can see the splendor under the grime. As usual, Ms. Davis cleverly connects the two timelines and characters sprinkling a bit of mystery and romance along the way. There are plenty of other interesting characters to round out the story. Ms. Davis' stories are well researched and it shows in all the period detail. After reading this, I wish I had been able to take more time exploring Grand Central when I was there in October 2016, funnily enough I was coming to CT to an author greeting/signing for the Ms. Davis and several other historical fiction authors. I love how Fiona's writing brings a little corner of the huge metropolis on NYC to life in her stories. I eagerly await the next book.
    more
  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1928 and twenty-five-year-old Clara Darden is teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. But it's not without its challenges as most people don't want to be taught by a woman. But Clara is fierce and determined and she isn't afraid to work hard for what she wants. Unfortunately Clara and her friends have no idea of what's to come with the Great Depression. Having no job, no money and no food won't be the worst things for Clara.Now, in 1974, Grand Central terminal is run down. It's dirty a It's 1928 and twenty-five-year-old Clara Darden is teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. But it's not without its challenges as most people don't want to be taught by a woman. But Clara is fierce and determined and she isn't afraid to work hard for what she wants. Unfortunately Clara and her friends have no idea of what's to come with the Great Depression. Having no job, no money and no food won't be the worst things for Clara.Now, in 1974, Grand Central terminal is run down. It's dirty and dangerous, and it's at the center of a lawsuit - is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved or is it to be demolished? Virginia Clay is a recently divorced mother whose last resort is to take a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her daughter Ruby. Taking a wrong turn, Virginia stumbles upon an old abandoned art school within the terminal. She finds a watercolour hidden under the dust which sets her on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece. This not only draws her into the mystery of Clara Darden, who disappeared into thin air in 1931, but it also draws her into the fight to save Grand Central.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! Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton for an ARC.
    more
  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    ERPIECE” BY FIONA DAVIS Penguin Group/ Dutton Publishing August 2018Bravo to Fiona Davis , Author of “The Masterpiece” for writing an amazing, captivating, intense, riveting, entertaining and enthralling novel. I love everything about “The Masterpiece.” I appreciate the historical research that the author has done. Fiona Davis is a creative force when it comes to writing and describing the vivid images and colorful characters, combining fiction and historical fiction. The Genres of this novel ar ERPIECE” BY FIONA DAVIS Penguin Group/ Dutton Publishing August 2018Bravo to Fiona Davis , Author of “The Masterpiece” for writing an amazing, captivating, intense, riveting, entertaining and enthralling novel. I love everything about “The Masterpiece.” I appreciate the historical research that the author has done. Fiona Davis is a creative force when it comes to writing and describing the vivid images and colorful characters, combining fiction and historical fiction. The Genres of this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery with a dash of Romance. The spotlight and center of interest in the story is The Grand Central Station Terminal in New York City. There are two timelines, with different characters that depict the historical and fictional events.Part of the history in The Grand Central Station is the former ART school, where famous artists worked on their creative inspirations. There also was a ritzy apartment, that later housed a famed bar.In 1928, Clara Dane is teaching Art in the Grand Central Station School of Art. Clara’s strength is illustrations. Unfortunately women were not treated in equal measures to the men. Women Artists were looked down upon. Clara was not treated fairly. Clara’s claim to fame is that her illustrations land on the cover of Vogue Magazine. When the Great Depression occurs, it forces the owners to close down the Art School. Clara has two men that play a significant part in her life. Clara also dabbles in other forms of Art. With the Depression, things change.Fifty years late, in 1978 the Grand Central Station Terminal is in much need of a Facelift. Things are dirty, and there are homeless people as well as people dealing drugs hanging around. Virginia Clay, a divorced mom with a young daughter needs a job. Virginia finds employment working in the information booth in the terminal. When Virginia is wandering around, she finds the location of the old art school. Virginia also finds a gorgeous painting, actually a masterpiece. Virginia is determined to find out who the painter is. As Virginia investigates, she finds that she in possibly in danger.Sadly there is a discussion of tearing down the Grand Central Station Terminal. Led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, there is a group trying to preserve the history and integrity of this landmark.I love when the past and present merge. There are some Uh- Oh moments, and twist and turns. I highly recommend this fantastic intriguing novel , especially for those that enjoy Historical Fiction. I received an ARC from NetGalley to read and review.
    more
  • Chrissie
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting concept, but I connect more with the author and whatever bit of history she first discovered about either Grand Central Terminal itself or the Grand Central School of Art that began as just a seed of an idea for a book. The execution of the novel itself, however, was overshadowed by a distinct lack of consistent characterization and a mottled, messy plot. I will say that there was a large difference between the structure, style, and quality of writing between the 1970's story and the Interesting concept, but I connect more with the author and whatever bit of history she first discovered about either Grand Central Terminal itself or the Grand Central School of Art that began as just a seed of an idea for a book. The execution of the novel itself, however, was overshadowed by a distinct lack of consistent characterization and a mottled, messy plot. I will say that there was a large difference between the structure, style, and quality of writing between the 1970's story and the 1920's story. In the '20s, Davis seemed to have a much better handle on her characters and the atmosphere in and around them as they navigated New York City in that era. Whereas in the '70s, both Davis's characters and setting seemed to suffer and the segments were altogether less engaging and very patchy for her characters. Virginia behaved in a way that seemed out of character a handful of times, and her personality was never really fully formed. The mystery holding the '70s segments together unraveled quite a bit near the end and felt rushed, uneven, and flat. All-in-all, a light and fluffyish kind of read, not unenjoyable, but disappointing in the end.I received this book for free from the publisher via Penguin Random House's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. This affected neither my opinion of the book, nor the content of my review.
    more
  • Sammira (blissfulreveries)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an e-ARC through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review The Masterpiece follows two women separated between 50 years as they embark a world full of starving artists, art scandals, and female empowerment. Clara Darden is an artist before her time, not to mention being a woman surrounded by sharks in the art world who are desperate to undermine her talent. After a tragedy that destroyed all of her art, she disappears without a trace and is eventually forgott I received an e-ARC through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review The Masterpiece follows two women separated between 50 years as they embark a world full of starving artists, art scandals, and female empowerment. Clara Darden is an artist before her time, not to mention being a woman surrounded by sharks in the art world who are desperate to undermine her talent. After a tragedy that destroyed all of her art, she disappears without a trace and is eventually forgotten by the art world. 50 years later, Virginia Clay is a single mother struggling to find her place in the world following her divorce. She later finds her calling when she stumbles upon a painting that appears to be by the mysterious Clara Darden and is determined to bring justice to not only the lost artist, but also the history tied to it by attempting to save the Grand Central Station from being demolished. Historical fiction is not usually my cup of tea, however the plot of this book drew me in immediately. A painting resurfacing of an artist who mysteriously disappeared off the face of the earth just 50 years prior? Sign me up. As I continued reading, my initial enthusiasm seemed to dissipate. I didn't mind the flip-flopping between Clara and Virginia's time periods, however I feel as if the plot line stalled from time to time which made it difficult for me at times to stay invested. My excitement picked back up during the last 150 pages which is where I feel that the story started to regain its speed. But having to push through the first half of the book to get to the excitement was tough at times. Despite the slow beginning, I very much enjoyed the second half of the book when all of the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. Can we also mention WOMEN EMPOWERMENT??? Especially during a time where both men and women would not really support women's success in any aspect. We definitely need more of that today.With that being said, The Masterpiece was something new for me which I am very happy that I was given the opportunity to read before its release (Aug. 7, 2018)! Although it was slow for me at times, I still very much enjoyed it.
    more
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    There is no place like Grand Central Station. Its majestic beauty shines through the crowds to reveal decades past. Millions of people quickly coming and going in the heartbeat of the greatest city on earth. Clara Darden is a young artist, struggling to make her way in 1928 as a teacher at the Grand Central School of Art. She is a beautiful, confident illustrator fighting for her place in a man’s world. Finally attaining success, Clara has made a name for herself juggling her wealthy, handsome b There is no place like Grand Central Station. Its majestic beauty shines through the crowds to reveal decades past. Millions of people quickly coming and going in the heartbeat of the greatest city on earth. Clara Darden is a young artist, struggling to make her way in 1928 as a teacher at the Grand Central School of Art. She is a beautiful, confident illustrator fighting for her place in a man’s world. Finally attaining success, Clara has made a name for herself juggling her wealthy, handsome boyfriend and fellow artists despite the looming Depression. After tragedy strikes, Clara disappears as if she never existed at all. Almost Fifty Years later, in 1974, Virginia is taunted by her chauvinistic lawyer husband who left her with little money and lots of sadness. Having been a homemaker for most of her adult life, Virginia scrambles to find work through a temp agency. She accepts a job in the information booth at Grand Central. Even though the terminal is now covered with dirt and not so shiny, Virginia is immediately enamored by its history. As she begins to explore her future as a single woman once again, she discovers a painting hidden on the upper levels of the terminal that had been abandoned decades ago. The mysterious unsigned painting greatly resembles one that is currently up for auction. With Virginia’s flourishing confidence and new station friends, she is determined to solve this mystery. Author Fiona Davis has done it again. A thoroughly enjoyable work of historical fiction based in NYC capturing the imagination through time and art. Highly recommend The Masterpiece for a fabulous summer read!
    more
  • Cupcake Book Lady
    January 1, 1970
    Virginia is a recent divorcee in the 1970’s with a teenage daughter to look after. So she finds what work she can, which just happens to be in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal at the information booth. The work seems dreary and pathetic until she accidentally stumbles into an old art room in the upper levels of the building, closed off to everyone, which was once home to an art school in the 20s, and has been the home of a hidden painting which may be worth a fortune. She also stumbles into a relati Virginia is a recent divorcee in the 1970’s with a teenage daughter to look after. So she finds what work she can, which just happens to be in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal at the information booth. The work seems dreary and pathetic until she accidentally stumbles into an old art room in the upper levels of the building, closed off to everyone, which was once home to an art school in the 20s, and has been the home of a hidden painting which may be worth a fortune. She also stumbles into a relationship with a man who is determined to tear down her new place of employment, unable to see its value or historic beauty.Clara is an artist in the 20s, an illustrator turned teacher who is still seeking passion in art, something ignited by an arrogant fellow teacher and artist, Levon Zakarian. She became the greatest female illustrator of the time, but a desire to create something more, from her soul, is whetted by the fellow teacher and funded by her new wealthy patron boyfriend. Yet history reveals her name left in obscurity following a tragedy. Virginia must survive her own personal tragedies, try to help save Grand Central, and uncover the secrets of a great lost painting and artist.The Masterpiece is a clever historical fiction mystery parallelling two women, one living in the art world of the 20’s and the other fighting to save and restore NYC's Grand Central Terminal in the 70’s. This thrilling, fascinating novel even features a bit of truth in the part played by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to help save one historical New York masterpiece. I received a free advance reader's copy in exchange for my honest review from Net Galley and Penguin Group Dutton Publishing.
    more
  • Dana Blazsek
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5— The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis•Thank you to @netgalley and @duttonbooks for a free digital advanced copy. •Virginia Clay is a divorcee who is forced back into the work place to stay afloat. There at Grand Central Terminal, she discovers the abandoned art school that closed due to the Great Depression. While looking around, she finds a watercolor painting that is signed Clyde. On the other side, we meet Clare Darden, a young artist struggling in the 1920s to make a name for herself in the ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5— The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis•Thank you to @netgalley and @duttonbooks for a free digital advanced copy. •Virginia Clay is a divorcee who is forced back into the work place to stay afloat. There at Grand Central Terminal, she discovers the abandoned art school that closed due to the Great Depression. While looking around, she finds a watercolor painting that is signed Clyde. On the other side, we meet Clare Darden, a young artist struggling in the 1920s to make a name for herself in the art world. The Masterpiece alternates between the 20s and 70s while we see how these two lives intersect. •This was my first Fiona Davis and 😳! It was so good. Honestly, I was hooked from the get go and the want to know the outcome was fierce. What happened to Clare? How is the painting found significant? These were questions that get asked and luckily answered— hate unanswered questions in books! The character development was probably my favorite part of the book. Hearing about the lives of two women, but in different times was intriguing. Davis did a wonderful job of showing how these women had to be stubborn and fight for what they believed in due to being women. And the history of GCS was intriguing to read about— it was like an added bonus!•#bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookshelf #booklover #bookreview #bookworm #booknerd #bookcover #bookish #bibliophile #booklife #bookstagrammer #bookaddict #pagestoreadfl #bookaholic #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookrecommendations #goodreads #igreads #bookaholic #ilovebooks #booklove #teachersofinstagram
    more
  • Gwen
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The release date for the hardback version is August 7, 2018.This is the second Fiona Davis book I have read, the first being The Address which was about the Dakota, a famous apartment complex in New York City. The famous New York City setting for The Masterpiece is Grand Central Terminal. When I requested and then received an early copy of this book, I was a bit apprehensive in that I really wasn’t interested in reading I received this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The release date for the hardback version is August 7, 2018.This is the second Fiona Davis book I have read, the first being The Address which was about the Dakota, a famous apartment complex in New York City. The famous New York City setting for The Masterpiece is Grand Central Terminal. When I requested and then received an early copy of this book, I was a bit apprehensive in that I really wasn’t interested in reading about Grand Central Terminal, however, while it is the backdrop to the story, the main focus of the plot is of two women, Clara and Virginia.Clara’s story takes place mainly in the late 1920’s leading into the early depression years. She is a struggling artist/illustrator trying to make it in a man’s world. Virginia’s story takes place nearly fifty years later in the 1970’s. She is newly divorced, has just landed herself a job at Grand Central Terminal and like Clara, is still trying to make it in a man’s world even though it is 50 years later.My apprehension about this story soon faded when I quickly became enthralled in the women’s lives, which the author deftly brought to life. The book moved along at a quick pace and before I knew it, I was done the book.Really enjoyed this book and learned some things about New York City and Grand Central Terminal that I did not know. This was definitely a four star read for me.
    more
  • Bethany Clark
    January 1, 1970
    My love of historical fiction had begun with Fiona when I first read The Address. I was mesmerized by her story lines, the depth of her characters and just the way in which her book flowed. I then moved on to The Dollhouse and I felt the same way. (How had I not known of her work before?)Today I am reviewing The Masterpiece and this is by far her best work yet. Not only was the story line amazing, I loved how the characters weaved in and out of the past and present and the intrigue each chapter My love of historical fiction had begun with Fiona when I first read The Address. I was mesmerized by her story lines, the depth of her characters and just the way in which her book flowed. I then moved on to The Dollhouse and I felt the same way. (How had I not known of her work before?)Today I am reviewing The Masterpiece and this is by far her best work yet. Not only was the story line amazing, I loved how the characters weaved in and out of the past and present and the intrigue each chapter created. Grand Central Station surely is a magical place and the sheer size of the building tells me how many stories, secrets, and lives were changed in those walls.Clara looks at Grand Central as a stepping stone towards a better life, 50 years later Virginia sees it as her last resort for her life after divorce. She does her best to see past the grime, crime and the danger of what the terminal has become.These two woman have a determination, drive and desire to make a life for themselves and the terminal will either make it or break it for them. You must read the story to understand the twists and turns that Clara and Virginia's stories take and how they intertwine. Pre-order your copy today. I can't wait to hear what you think!
    more
Write a review