‘A FADING LEGEND
A RISING STAR
THE SECRETS THAT HAUNT THEM….’
In recent month there has been a phenomenal amount of books that I want to pick up and read. The Girl From The Savoy has been one of those books.
From past reviews you will see that I am drawn to historical fiction of a certain era, namely 1920s and 1940s. The Girl From The Savoy, published earlier this Summer by Harper Collins, is a novel set in the post WW1 era of the 1920’s.
A beautiful read, here is my review. I do hope you enjoy!!
‘When she secures employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly Lane’s proximity to the dazzling guests makes her yearn for a life beyond the grey drudgery she was born into.
Her fortunes takes an unexpected turn when she responds to a classified advert and finds herself thrust into the heady atmosphere of London’s glittering theatre scene and into the sphere of the celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry.
All three are searching for something, yet the aftermath of the Great War has cast a dark shadow over them all. A brighter future is tantalizingly close – but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?’
Dorothy (Dolly) Lane is a girl with ambition and a story to tell. Inevitably touched by the tragedies of The Great War, Dolly leaves behind a family, a boyfriend and her memories to start a new life in London.
While establishing herself as a maid in London’s Savoy Hotel, Dolly’s life becomes a series of cleaning and servitude to the wealthy but it does not stop Dolly from dreaming.
‘Always the same. Anyone who ends up here wants more than picture rails to dust and fires to lay and chamber pots to empty. We all fancy ourselves a cut above the ordinary housemaid.’
She sneaks a peak at costumes in wardrobes and daringly tries on glitzy shoes in bedrooms of the starlits. Dolly is a dreamer but Dolly is intent on making these dreams a reality, forever lost in thought as to how she can do this, Dolly soon embarks on a path her dreams could never have reached.
One of the Dolly’s idols is the singer/actress Loretta May.
Loretta, the darling of the stage, is a woman with her own story to tell. A famous star, with very loyal fans who admire and love her,queuing for hours to catch a glimpse of the beauty of Loretta May.
Loretta has her own rather heartbreaking story to tell but chooses to keep it close to her heart. There were many casualties of the war, both in and out of the trenches. Nobody escaped unscathed. As the book unfolds, so too does the story of a woman touched by a terrible tragedy, one she has to deal with surrounded by the hunting press and all her adoring fans.
Meanwhile, Loretta’s brother Perry, has returned from war traumatized and a shattered man. He has lost his ability to love, laugh and let himself go. He lives in a run down bohemian apartment and feels his life is over. He is a frustrated musician who cannot regain his ability to write.
Loretta has always felt it her duty to look after Perry and it pains her to see him in such a condition. She wants Perry to be happy and sets about a plan in the hope of bringing back the Perry she remembers pre-war.
So begins a tale where fate intervenes and the lives of these three people are brought together in a very unexpected way.
Dolly finds herself right in the middle of a life she had only dreamed of. A life that brings her into the glamour of the early Roaring Twenties. Dolly is exposed to a world she could only ever have imagined. A world of glitz, glamour, gin fizz, jazz and the social scene of ‘The Bright Young Things.’
Dolly has to make some very important decisions, ones that will affect not just her future but the future of others she holds dear.
Loretta & Perry must also come to terms with a history they have not shared with each other. They have many untold secrets between each other and as these secrets are revealed, we are exposed to a sadness that lurks under all that glitz.
The stories of Dolly, Loretta and Perry, though all unique to each character, show how the horrors of war have no boundaries. Status is irrelevant when faced with life changing decisions.
The Girl From The Savoy is a wonderful read. Even though there is plenty of sadness in the book, there is also escapism. I was transported to a time I love. I could hear the laughter and the tinkling of glasses in the ballroom of The Savoy. I could hear the adulation of the ‘Gallery Girls’ in the auditoriums as they screamed out for their stars.
I hope you get the same joy out of reading The Girl From The Savoy.
Please let me know.
About Hazel Gaynor:
Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance writer.
Hazel writes a popular guest blog ‘Carry on Writing’ for national Irish writing website writing.ie and contributes regular feature articles for the site, interviewing authors such as Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Joyce and Jo Baker, among others.
Hazel was the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. She appeared as a guest speaker at the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Historical Novel Society annual conferences in 2014.
Originally from Yorkshire, she now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.
The Girl From The Savoy is Hazel’s third novel.