Saturday, October 7, 2017
Sara Smythe is an Englishwoman with a good job as the head housekeeper in a pricey London hotel in 1884. Staying at the hotel is American architect Theodore Camden, who is currently working on plans for an apartment house in New York City. Camden offers her a lucrative position at the building which will be known as The Dakota and a ticket for the ocean voyage. Sara travels to America to take her place as the "Managerette" of the building. Her life takes a downward turn after a wrongful accusation of theft, exoneration, and the murder of Theodore Camden. Fast forward 100 years to a young woman named Bailey Camden who is fresh out of rehab and trying to regain her footing in the world of interior design by helping her cousin "remodel" the Camden apartment in the Dakota. The stories of the two women intersect when Bailey finds trunks full of Camden possessions from the previous century which only raises more questions about her great-grandfather's murder and her position in the Camden family. The story alternates between the centuries and, while the premise is intriguing, it is too often predictable. The author's notes list the references on The Dakota she used in writing the story which includes Life at the Dakota. In addition the author admits altering the timing of some historic events such as the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York and reporter Nellie Bly's famous undercover stay at the Blackwell's Island lunatic asylum.