Paperback Release: December 8, 2020
Hazel Ripley left her unfulfilling career as a constant understudy to join the USO Tour during World War II. Her new job takes her to the Old World where she meets Maxine Mead, a vivacious and outspoken actress. The two women bond over their love of theater and mutual formative experiences in Italy.
Their friendship endures beyond their stint abroad; the two cross paths again at the iconic Chelsea Hotel – a haven for artists and creators – in the 1950s. Hazel catches a break as a playwright, and Maxine returns as a Hollywood starlet. But as the era of McCarthyism and blacklisting of the entertainment industry develops, Hazel and Maxine find themselves caught in the cross-fire. As the pressure builds, Hazel and Maxine face life-changing decisions about loyalty, morality, and freedom, all of which unfold before the Victorian facade of the Chelsea Hotel. Will the hunt for communists break these women apart?
Fiona Davis, the bestselling author of The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Masterpiece, crafts another exciting narrative rich in historical detail and unexpected twists. The Chelsea Girls shines a light on the glamour of the theater world and the power of standing up for creative freedom. This is a perfect read for lovers of historical fiction, theater, and New York City.
About The Author:
Fiona Davis 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 author of historical fiction. Fiona’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
She’s a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City. https://fionadavis.net/
Davis tells a very good story and deserves all the praise she won for her other books set in famous New York landmarks. . . . What finally emerges from the mix of detailed research and solid writing is a tale that is intricate and subtle, unpredictable and exciting.”—The Washington Post
“Davis, who has given juicy supporting roles to New York landmarks in The Masterpiece and The Address, uses Chelsea as a metaphor for the grandeur that was within reach but spirals into a much darker place.”—Associated Press
“Another spectacular novel . . . Davis needs to be celebrated for this. Sure, she gets the history right and does a magnificent job of bringing the Chelsea’s special magic to life. Beyond that, she is an exquisite writer, who captures the essence of people and times.”—The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
“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 (starred review)
“A completely absorbing page-turner of a read from cover to cover, The Chelsea Girls showcases author Fiona Davis’s natural talent as a narrative-driven storyteller who pays meticulous attention to historical background elements while expertly crafting truly memorable characters and an original, entertaining, and thought-provoking story.”—Midwest Book Review