Author: Hazel Gaynor
Narrator: Jennifer Jones, Lucy Rayner, Paul Fox
Published: June 2016, Harper Audio / William Morrow Paperbacks
Length: 14 hours 20 minutes / 448 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible / Paperback via Publisher
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?
My thoughts: I am a big fan of Hazel Gaynor's books and having just had the pleasure of meeting her while she was in the US on tour for her short story in Fall of Poppies, I couldn't wait to get my hands on her latest book...and what a treat it turned out to be!
I absolutely fell in love with both the characters and the setting of this book. I really think if I could have lived in a different time period, this would be it - in the early 1920s. Though I wouldn't have wanted to have to send my fella off to war or have to deal with him not coming back or coming back but as himself. This is what Loretta and Dolly each had to deal with. But this book is so much more than that.
Two women, each with very different lives, end up coming together in the most unlikely of ways and becoming friends. But at what cost? Having the book alternate between Dolly, Loretta and even Teddy, really brought these characters to life. I felt that we really get a good perspective of the whole upstairs/downstairs class structure from this telling - with Dolly as a new maid at the Savoy Hotel and Loretta the great actress of the day. And then there's Teddy, who brings an entirely different perspective to the forefront - that of the Great War and it's aftermath.
Each of the characters are so richly developed. It is so easy to fall in love with them and find yourself rooting for them to find whatever happiness it is that they are looking for. It seems that romance and heartache are always just around the bend...no sooner does Dolly, full of determination and hard work, find happiness and success, than an unexpected surprise shows up. Isn't that always the way?
This was such a lovely read. I was captivated from the beginning and now want to go visit the Savoy Hotel and go dancing among the stars of old. I love when books inspire me to want more.
Audio thoughts: I have now read and listened to two of Hazel Gaynor's books and both were just fantastic on audio!!! This one came to life and I thought the three narrators - all new to me - did such a great job with the voices. They each took on one of the three narrators of the book and were consistent throughout the novel with the way they did the voices for their chapters. It was well-paced. This book was a delight to listen to.