The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece Review

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 masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist." Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded--even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter--Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they'll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece--an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

Title:The Masterpiece

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • 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 da...

  • Angela M

    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 mag...

  • Book of Secrets

    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...

  • Cindy Burnett

    4.5 starsThe 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...

  • 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 ...

  • Babydimps (Suzy)

    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...

  • Marialyce

    3.5 engaging starsThis 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 termi...

  • 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 a...

  • 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*...

  • Amy

    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 da...