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The Magnolia Palace - an intriguing historical novel set in New York City’s Frick mansion.

Lillian Carter, working under the name Angelica, was a well-known model for many noted sculptures across New York City. In 1919, eight months after her mother dies of the Spanish Flu, Angelica’s career has waned. When a murder occurs in the building she is living in, her future becomes uncertain. With the hope of earning enough money to head west to Hollywood to try and start a career in the movies, Lillian finds her way into to the mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. She becomes the private secretary to his daughter Helen, who is unaware of Lillian’s true identity, as the police search for Angelica to question her about the murder. The story shifts to 1966 as 18-year-old Veronica Webb starts her career as a model. Her first job is a shoot for Vogue set at The Frick Collection. The grand building is no longer a residence, but an art museum left to the city by its owner. When Veronica, who has her own complicated backstory, gets trapped in the museum during a snowstorm, she meets a young intern archivist and through clues left long ago, they find themselves searching for a rare, valuable gem. The story of Lillian, Helen and the Frick family is revealed as the mystery of the lost Magnolia Diamond is uncovered.

Author Fiona Davis has selected some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks as the locations for her books combining its history with an engaging fictional story which takes place in two time periods. Her choices of where to set her novels are all inspired. The Barbizon Hotel for Women, The Dakota, Grand Central Terminal, The Chelsea Hotel, The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and now, The Frick Collection. The Magnolia Palace does justice to one of the few remaining opulent structures from Old New York and its Gilded Age. Davis captures its grandeur with well-researched details. And by combining real-life historical figures, those inspired by true people and others imagined, we have another highly entertaining book with a well-developed story which should delight and captivate historical fiction fans, especially those who love books set in New York City. With each book, Fiona Davis continues to secure her place as a must-read author.

Once you read this book, you’ll want to visit The Frick, but note that the mansion is undergoing a major renovation so check for info on its reopening. The art collection has been moved to a temporary location. And get ready to Google Audrey Munson, the woman who inspired the character of Angelica.

Many thanks to Dutton / Penguin Group, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this engaging book prior to its publication date.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Historical Fiction.

Publication Date: January 25, 2022.

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