Jun 17, 2016

The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor Review

A Novel
By Hazel Gaynor
William Morrow Paparbacks
May 31, 2016
ISBN: 9780062403476; $15.99
E-ISBN 9780062403483 * $10.99

Presenting a dazzling new historical novel … The Girl From The Savoy is as sparkling as champagne and as thrilling as the era itself.

‘Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …’

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.

When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.

But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something.

Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

We start The Girl From The Savoy with Dorothy Lane whom calls herself Dolly; Saying goodbye to her beloved Tommy as he heads off for the Great War  from their small train station in Mawdesley, Lancaster. Little does either of them know just how much their live will change.

We jump forward in time and Dolly has now moved to London and experiencing life as a maid in Grosvenor Square, but she wants to experience more! She want to be a dancer on the stage in the West End, but  knows she will never get discovered by being a household maid. So she heads off for employment at the the flashy hotel The Savoy.  But when Dolly literally crashing into struggling composer Perry Clements, she doesn't realize the chain of events that she has started.

After struggling on her first few weeks at The Savoy, Dolly finally settles into life, but the past keeps Dolly from moving forward, and after another chance meeting with Perry, turns horribly wrong, when he abandons  her in a coffee shop; Dolly dreams of becoming a dancer on the stage get overtaken by pains of the past.

Loretta May is really the daughter of Earl, the sister of Perry Clements and the secret widow of a soldier; but what everyone knows her for is being one of the biggest stars on the West End Stage! But Etta is hiding a bigger secret than being a widow…Etta is dying, but she will not be labeled a tragedy. So when her brother mentions this girl from the Savoy and his terrible treatment of her. Loretta is determining to meet this girl that has caused such a reaction from her brother; but what she wasn't expecting is a girl who has been through so many trials but is determined to better herself.

So Loretta takes Dolly under her wing and makes her her protégé and Dolly soars! But will her past swoops in and holds her back?

If you are looking for a book that ends in a Happily Ever After! You will not find this here. If you want a book that starts with real life as a maid in 1900's ends with happiness and peace then this is a book for you. But I will warn you that this story includes (but doesn't go into detail) rape, forced adoption (of sorts), war, illness, death and love. I will say that this book has a high Kleenex count.

I loved Dolly's story of love and heartbreak, I loved that this book in split into acts, I loved that all of the details of everyone's story doesn't come until that last act and I love that the story gives everyone an ending. Loretta story was heartbreaking, but in the end I was thrilled that she was finally with Rodger. I'm happy that Perry finally released all of his demons from the war and finally can go after the women he loves. I am sad that Clover was tricked into something that ended up hurting her, but I'm thrilled that she finds a new lease of life, and I am just happy that Tommy found "his little one". I will honestly say that these group of characters have never inspired me, caused me despair, made me cry and in the end left me happy and at peaceable this group of characters have 

I have never read this author's work before; but I loved her writing, the plot was inspired and I loved the way that everything was tied up with a bow, although I wish the Tommy got on the boat in Liverpool! But I think that is the hopeless romantic in me.

I give The Girl From The Savoy 5 stars!

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. She was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Hazel is a contributing author to WWI anthology FALL OF POPPIES: Stories of Love and the Great War. As features writer for national Irish writing website Hazel has interviewed Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Kate Mosse, Jojo Moyes and Cheryl Strayed, among others.

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