It's 1928 and twenty-five-year-old Clara Darden is teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. But it's not without its challenges as most people don't want to be taught by a woman. But Clara is fierce and determined and she isn't afraid to work hard for what she wants. Unfortunately Clara and her friends have no idea of what's to come with the Great Depression. Having no job, no money and no food won't be the worst things for Clara.
Now, in 1974, Grand Central terminal is run down. It's dirty and dangerous, and it's at the center of a lawsuit - is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved or is it to be demolished? Virginia Clay is a recently divorced mother whose last resort is to take a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her daughter Ruby. Taking a wrong turn, Virginia stumbles upon an old abandoned art school within the terminal. She finds a watercolour hidden under the dust which sets her on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece. This not only draws her into the mystery of Clara Darden, who disappeared into thin air in 1931, but it also draws her into the fight to save Grand Central.
Fiona Davis has the amazing ability to transport the reader back in time as well as bring New York City landmarks to life. If you've enjoyed her other books then this one will be no different. If you've never read any of her books - what are you waiting for?! I could feel Clara's frustration at being treated differently because she's a woman. I could feel the desperation and worry as the Great Depression settled in. I loved Clara's story and I did eventually grow to love Levon Zakarian. There's something about that era, being taken back and seeing the beauty of the Grand Central terminal. But Virginia's story was good as well. I liked that she and her daughter were close and could get strength and support from one another and I liked seeing Virginia grow into someone who can be comfortable in her own skin. And that cover - gorgeous!
Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton for an ARC.