The Chelsea Girls: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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 a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women's lives—from the national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address.
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.
About the Author
Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Masterpiece. She lives in New York City and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary in Virginia and the Columbia Journalism School.
Praise for The Chelsea Girls
“A satisfying read about the bonds between women.”—Brenda Janowitz, POPSUGAR
“The glitz and glamour of the Chelsea Hotel provides a perfect backdrop for Davis's story of friendship, ambition and behind-the-scenes theatrical intrigue. Hazel and Maxine are complex characters struggling with conflicting questions of loyalty, love and professional success in a turbulent time. Their story is both a sharp-eyed commentary on female friendship and a vivid glimpse into the life of a New York City icon.”—Shelf Awareness
“Featuring vibrant, witty characters who not only weather but thrive in a dark period of American history, Davis’s tale of one friendship’s strength will stun and satisfy readers.”—Publishers Weekly
“This novel in three acts brings to vivid life the McCarthy era and its impact on the entertainment industry in a heartbreaking tale of the friendship of two brave women.”—Library Journal
“A fascinating and wholly immersive celebration of friendship, love, loyalty, and courage during a turbulent and often underrepresented period in American history, The Chelsea Girls will delight. Davis brings her setting to life as she whisks readers away to the iconic Chelsea Hotel and the theater world during the McCarthy era. Richly detailed and transporting, historical fiction fans will love this one!”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of When We Left Cuba
“The Chelsea Girls is an entirely delightful example of Fiona Davis’s inventive and winning approach to historical fiction. The dazzling allure of Broadway, the devastating consequences of McCarthyism, the delights of the legendary Chelsea Hotel, and above all the decades-long friendship of Hazel and Maxine—Davis weaves these narrative threads into a memorable, affecting and marvelously entertaining novel.”—Jennifer Robson, internationally bestselling author of The Gown
“In her most impressive and ambitious novel yet, Davis has given us an expertly plotted and emotional tale of the aftermath of war, the insidious way that fear-mongering can divide us, and the unexpected ways that art brings us together. The Chelsea Girls is a masterfully crafted story of a bond between two women that is strong enough to overcome the heartache of war, the pressures of fame, and the gut-wrenching betrayal that accompanies dangerous secrets. This is one of the most powerful and moving stories of female friendship I have ever read.”—Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Wartime Sisters
“A dazzling story of loyalty, friendship, and betrayal in 1950s Bohemian New York amid the danger of the Red Scare. It will leave readers wishing they could spend a night at the Chelsea Hotel for a taste of Broadway glamour and a well-shaken cocktail.”—Julia Kelly, award-winning author of The Light Over London
“The Chelsea Girls is the thoroughly engrossing story of an authentic and complex female friendship under the intense pressures of the Cold War. Replete with international secrets and theatrical triumphs, it sings with the nuances, trials, and celebrations of real friendship in the darkest of times. A must-read for you and your best friends!”—Kerri Maher, author of The Kennedy Debutante
“We all want friends like 'the Chelsea girls.' A winning mix of historic challenges and enduring ties between two remarkable women makes Fiona Davis’s latest novel a must-read.”—Stephanie Barron, author of That Churchill Woman
“A spell-binding tale of a decades-long friendship between two talented women, presented against a backdrop of political conspiracy, infused with the glamour of Hollywood and Broadway, and set in that ramshackle headquarters of New York bohemia, the iconic Chelsea Hotel. In The Chelsea Girls, the spirits of America’s mid-century arts scene rise up to frolic again. Brava!”—Sherill Tippins, author of Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel
“Davis has done us a service with a compelling historical novel that offers perspective to understand today’s polarized politics.”—Authorlink.com
More Praise for Fiona Davis and Her Novels
“Fiona Davis in The Masterpiece continues a winning formula that showcases the stories behind New York City landmarks...a hard-to-resist and a timely reminder that for far too long the work done by women has been dismissed and disrespected.”—USA Today on The Masterpiece
“Fiona Davis achieves a world in which fictional characters and real life seamlessly meld...The Masterpiece is a beautifully crafted, meticulously researched story.”—New York Journal of Books on The Masterpiece
“Fiona Davis delivers another stunning narrative.”—US Weekly on The Masterpiece
“Davis has written another paean to a New York City landmark. Historical fiction fans will love the compelling dual narrators and time periods perfectly captured in this novel based on the history of one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world.”—Library Journal (starred review) on The Masterpiece
“A delicious tale of love, lies and madness.”—People on The Address
“The Address is compelling, historically minded fiction with unexpected—and entertaining—twists and turns...the novel delights...”—Ms. Magazine
“Lively and detail rich—set against the backdrop of NYC's infamous Dakota building—with a thread of mystery that makes it easy to enjoy, hard to put down.”—Family Circle on The Address
“Spanning over 100 years, Fiona Davis' mystery is packed with deceit.”—US Weekly on The Address
“Rich both in twists and period detail, this tale of big-city ambition is impossible to put down."—People on The Dollhouse
“The Dollhouse is a thrilling peek through a window into another world—one that readers will savor for a long time.”—Associated Press
“An ode to old New York that will have you yelling for more seasons of Mad Men.”—New York Post on The Dollhouse