Sara Smyth is working her way up to head housekeeper in a posh London hotel when she's offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Theodore Camden, one of the architects of The Dakota - a new apartment house in New York - offers her a job. This is a big deal for a woman in 1884. It also gives her the chance to see more of Theo as he lives in The Dakota with his wife and three children.
It's 1985 and Bailey Camden is fresh out of rehab and struggling to stay sober. The former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless and has no money. Her cousin Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her Dakota apartment as well as stay there for a while. Bailey doesn't agree with Melinda's vision for the old apartment that was once owned by Melinda's own great-grandfather Theodore Camden, the same apartment where he was stabbed to death by a madwoman and former Dakota employee named Sara Smyth.
Even though one hundred years separate Sara and Bailey, they both take refuge within the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a famous building rich with both history and tragedy can't hold its secrets forever and when Bailey goes looking through old trunks once belonging to Theo, his wife Minnie and Sara she discovers something unbelievable.
I liked Sara's story more than Bailey's because there's just something about that time period - a big monstrosity of an apartment house outside of the city proper which is actually something really beautiful even to this day! The author makes The Dakota come alive with rich details. Many famous people made their home there with its charm and character. I thought both women were kind, strong, hard workers. I liked the twists and turns. I liked that the author used real places and events and even a real (and very interesting) person makes an appearance! Overall two very interesting and readable stories that weave their way into one.
Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group Dutton for a copy of this book.