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The Masterpiece

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  6,632 ratings  ·  744 reviews
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 masterpiec
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Dutton
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Gretchen Not that I picked up on. I think it was the name Totto and the years in which they both painted.
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Rose (Traveling Sister)
Just take all the stars, Fiona Davis! You deserve them!

This book is the literary equivalent of sipping luscious coffee at a patio cafe, right next to a bustling historic square, on a perfect autumn day. It is sunny and breezy. There's lots to take in, but it moves at its own steady pace. The feeling I have upon finishing The Masterpiece is that which only an exquisite work of historical fiction can provide: nostalgia for things I never experienced.

In 1928, a group of fabulously-named artists (am
Angela M
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I’ve only seen the Grand Cental Terminal once several years ago . I knew it was a historic landmark and had been refurbished but I didn’t know the history of it, only focusing on its magnificence as I stood in there taking it in . This story gave me some of that background. I was drawn to Fiona Davis’ novel mainly because I enjoy reading about historic New York City and most of this story takes place there in 1920’s as well the nearer history of the 1970’s . In the dual narratives, we
Book of Secrets
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Cindy Burnett
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

The 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
Katie B
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 ...more
Babydimps (Suzy)
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars!

After loving Fiona Davis’ previous novel, The Address, I was thrilled to get my hands on The Masterpiece. This book was told in two POV‘s - Clara and Virginia, 50 years apart. I loved the Grand Central Station setting and learning about its history, especially the Grand Central School of Art in the late 1920’s and early ‘30’s.

Ms. Davis really does a great job in her historical storytelling. I learn a lot from reading her books. In fact, she is one of the very few authors who turned me
3.5 engaging stars

This was my very first book by Fiona Davis and of course, being a former New York girl, I was so enticed by its setting, that of New York's Grand Central terminal. The original terminal was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and than later redone in 1903 becoming the biggest construction project in New York's history up to that time. Taking ten years to complete, it was built on seventy acres, thirty-two miles of track, and thirty passenger platforms. It has an amazing history and w
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

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.

Clara taught illustration at the art school when it was in its hey day, and Virginia needed to work since she had been recently divorced. Since Virginia had no skills, the information booth was the best the temp agency could do for her.

The connection Virginia had to Clara was a drawing she found in the abandoned art school on the se
Norma * Traveling Sister
Enjoyable and entertaining read! I loved the setting of the Grand Central Terminal and the art aspect to this novel was quite intriguing.

Full review to follow shortly

*Traveling Sisters Read*

Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

All the stars!!! Seriously, I couldn't be more excited about The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis. This was my first time reading a book by her and it will clearly not be my last.

What it's about: Told in dual timelines, we get the stories of Clara Darden who is a female painter and illustrator in the 1920's, and the story of Virginia Clay which is set in the 1970s and largely deals with the fight to save Grand Central Terminal. Throw in a mystery about a watercolor and an anonymous painter na
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was 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
Jennifer Blankfein
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank goodness for jury duty - allowing me to read the bulk of this fascinating historical fiction novel in one sitting! So much to enjoy - full review to come. Please follow for all reviews and recommendations.
The Masterpiece is an enchanting piece of historical fiction and well deserving of all 5 stars! This is my first time reading a novel written by Fiona Davis, but I will definitely not be my last! 

My mother is an artist and was an art history professor until she retired, so art has always been a fascinating and beloved part of my life. I immediately knew based on the synopsis that I would thoroughly enjoy this story since thanks to my mother and her passionate love of all things New York and it's
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars Thank you to Penguins' First to Read and Dutton for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC. Publishes August 7, 2018.

Another 'masterpiece' by Fiona Davis.

Davis is becoming one of my all time favorite authors. Her mastery at taking current buildings back to their hey day is both wonderful and enlightening. She sets the mark for renewing the history of some of our well known popular structures.

This book takes us back into the history of Grand Central Station. We move throug
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Oh wow listening to this book was such a great experience. THIS is just the kind of dual storyline book I love to read with two fascinating stories linked together by a painting. First, I just want to say that I got Beatriz Williams vibes while listening to this book. And I LOVE Beatriz Williams books, so that's a plus. Second, not setting one of the stories in the present time was fabulous. I have a deep love for both the 20s and the 70s and now I got them both.

THE MASTERPIECE is the very first
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
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
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
Sherri Thacker
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Fiona Davis can pull a reader into that time period unlike anyone else. This book was another good book by her, going back and forth from the 20’s to the 70’s. This is my 3rd book by Fiona Davis. I enjoyed it.
3.5 Stars
Fiona Davis is an excellent writer but I just didn't love this like I thought I would. The narrative is slower than I like and I had trouble connecting to the characters. The history of Grand Central is fascinating and the first part of the book is certainly better than the second, but it isn't enough to make this book a four star read.

Thank you to Edelweiss for a copy of the book.
Amy Bruno
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
LOVED! Full review to come.
Susan Johnson
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
As a New Yorker, I absolutely should have taken this book to Grand Central and taken a better picture that seems much more suitable. I am kicking myself for not thinking of this sooner. However, for the sake of getting my thoughts out to you quicker, this will have to do because we need to talk about this book!!

If anyone can make me love historical fiction, it's Fiona Davis. It's no surprise to those who have been following my reviews, that I am slowly becoming a fan of this genre. My first Davi
Camille Maio
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Tina Woodbury
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For all of my reviews: www.readingbetweenthepagesblog.wordpr...

This is a beautifully written story of two women, in two different decades, forging forward despite the ups and downs life has thrown at them.

Clara Darden is a very talented illustration teacher at Grand Central School of Art. She loves what she does and the opportunity to inspire others, but in 1928 women instructors are not well received and she is on the verge of losing her job.

It is 1974 and newly divorced Virginia Clay has decid
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I enjoyed this book set in 2 time periods and following the artists of the Grand Central School of Art and Virginia, a recently divorced mother who goes to work at the Grand Central Terminal and finds the ruins of the old art school- and some of its secrets. Lovely story, very fast read. 4⭐ not a deep book but lovely. ...more

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
Pam Jenoff
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Davis's previous books, each of which shone a spotlight on a unique New York landmark through the lens of historical fiction. Continuing this tradition, Th Masterpiece is the story of a single mom in 1974, who takes a job at Grand Central Terminal, and discovers the little known history of the Grand Central School of Art. The book toggles between the struggle to preserve the aging train station in the early 1970s and the story of a young female artist who studied at the school in the 19 ...more
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AMERICAN HISTORIC...: New Giveaway 8 12 Oct 07, 2018 04:13PM  
Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of THE MASTERPIECE, THE DOLLHOUSE and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an ...more