Today I have a review of The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis, now available from Dutton Books. A big thank you to Kathleen Carter Communications for sending me a complimentary copy.
I finally read my first book by Fiona Davis, and I absolutely loved it.
The Chelsea Hotel in the 1940s and 50s New York is the hotspot for all the creatives in the city. Artists, musicians, poets, filmmakers; they are all here.
Maxine Mead, an actress, and Hazel Riley, a playwright, plan to use the Chelsea to get the ball rolling for their careers. They soon find, however, that making a Broadway show isn’t just about who you know; it’s about politics.
With fear over communism as its backdrop, Senator McCarthy is on the hunt for entertainers he thinks would naturally be Communists. It’s starting to get ugly. There is pressure to finger point. Hazel and Maxine may not make their Broadway show, but they may lose a lot more than that, meaning their freedom.
My favorite thing about this book? I loved how the Chelsea became a character. It represented total freedom and complete creativity, the perfect place for creatives to congregate and be inspired. I loved Maxine and Hazel’s genuine friendship, and the take on McCarthyism and entertainers was both upsetting and fascinating. The whole acting scene was glamorous and fun to watch.
Fiona Davis does a remarkable job drawing authentic, believable characters and making them relatable.
Overall, The Chelsea Girls is a beautiful story of complex friendship, during a time period filled with strife and uncertainty.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
From Fiona Davis, the nationally bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address, the bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about the twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives.
From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.
Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.
Have you read The Chelsea Girls, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR