The Chelsea Girls Prime –

The Chelsea Girls Hazel Ripley left her unfulfilling career as a constant understudy to join the USO Tour during World War II Her new job takes her to the Old World where she meets Maxine Mead, a vivacious and outspoken actress The two women bond over their love of theater and mutual formative experiences in Italy Their friendship endures beyond their stint abroad the two cross paths again at the iconic Chelsea Hotel a haven for artists and creators in the 1950s Hazel catches a break as a playwright, and Maxine returns as a Hollywood starlet But as the era of McCarthyism and blacklisting of the entertainment industry develops, Hazel and Maxine find themselves caught in the cross fire As the pressure builds, Hazel and Maxine face life changing decisions about loyalty, morality, and freedom, all of which unfold before the Victorian facade of the Chelsea Hotel Will the hunt for communists break these women apart Fiona Davis, the bestselling author of The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Masterpiece, crafts another exciting narrative rich in historical detail and unexpected twists The Chelsea Girls shines a light on the glamour of the theater world and the power of standing up for creative freedom This is a perfect read for lovers of historical fiction, theater, and New York City. This is a little bit of a departure for Fiona Davis No dual timeline, and the landmark the Chelsea Hotel plays a slightly less crucial role than the landmarks in her previous works But the examination of McCarthyism and its impact on the theater world is dark and devastating. FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON JULY 31.What a fun, interesting place The Chelsea Hotel must have been.The description of the hotel s decorations, the secret places and passages in it, and the furnishings was fascinating The impeccable research Ms Davis had to do definitely shows I had do a bit of googling of the hotel myself History buffs and theater goers will again be treated to a very descriptive story line that has Ms Davis taking you back in time.I do have to say THE CHELSEA GIRLS was a bit tedious to read, but I loved the history of the hotel and its inhabitants The characters in the book were believable and most were likable The ending was satisfying and nicely wrapped up the story line 3 5This book was given to me by the publisher via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review. Fiona Davis has captured the hearts of readers with the way she brings life to New York City landmarks through compelling historical fiction Setting her sights on the Chelsea Hotel, she delves into the world of theater in the McCarthy era As two women wrestle with wartime memories, fractured friendship, love, and trust, readers will find themselves immersed in the world that Davis created and will be eager for. Fiona Davis is absolutely one of my favorite voices in historical fiction and her latest, The Chelsea Girls, proves why This time around, Davis takes on post WWII communism and does so within the world of theater and performing arts in NYC Deviating from the dual timelines of her past work, The Chelsea Girls begins in Italy where Hazel Maxine meet on a USO tour and then a few years later, they are reunited in NYC at the Chelsea Hotel to work in theater together Underneath all the friendship and artistic expression, the art world has come under siege due to rising fears of communism the red scare Davis has quite the knack for discussing important parts of history while also lending her unique voice to the story and creating three dimensional characters that truly leap off the page I learned a ton about a time period I knew little and also appreciated the fictional component of the friendship immensely Thank you to Dutton for an advanced copy All opinions are my own. This story set in the McCarthy era is chilling It is a reminder what happens to people who are persecuted for their speech or opinion This centers around the entertainment world and two friends, Hazel and Maxine, and how the McCarthy investigation impacts their lives The two meet in Naples, Italy in an USO troupe entertainment troupe Hazel becomes a budding playwright and Maxine a famous actress after the War They unite to put on Hazel s first play on Broadway when the charge of Communism raises its ugly head The aftermath shapes their lives forever There is an amazing twist and the setting of the Chelsea Hotel adds great atmosphere The time period portrayal seems very accurate The story of friendship is lovely It is a very timely story that has resonates with our situation today Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about a twenty year friendship that will irrevocably change two women s lives from the national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address.From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs As the pressure builds to name names, it isthan Hazel and Maxine s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel. A dazzling story of loyalty, friendship, and betrayal in 1950s Bohemian New York amid the danger of the Red Scare It will leave readers wishing they could spend a night at the Chelsea Hotel for a taste of Broadway glamor and a well shaken cocktail. EDITED2.5 stars The Chelsea Girls follows Hazel and Maxine from 1940s Europe, near the end of WWII to the late 1960s New York The titular Chelsea is a hotel known for its many resident artists of various stripesboth political and professional The bulk of the story takes place during the 1950s at the height of McCarthyism in the US, which led to the blacklisting of many in the entertainment industry for supposed communist connections Maxine, an actress on the rise, and Hazel, an understudy turned playwright and director, both residents of the Chelsea, find their lives turned upside down by the fear mongering of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee Will their friendship withstand the intense pressure brought to bear on it The early Cold War period and activities of the US government, as the HUAC searched for a commie under every stone is not the usual fare for an historical fiction novel As a student of history, the topic pulled me in right away The actions of our government during that time both fascinate and appall me The glimpses the author gives into the HUAC feel realistic and sobering However, as I talked about this book with a friend, I realized that there was much I didn t likethat wasn t fleshed outnecessary backstory left untoldor the need to suspend my disbelief I finished the conversation with, I guess I didn t like it as much as I thought I did I have altered my original review to reflect my thoughts several days removed from finishing the book My thanks to Edelweiss and The Penguin Group for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review The opinions expressed here are my own. Linda s Book Obsession Reviews The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis, Dutton, July 2019Kudos to Fiona Davis, Author of The Chelsea Girls for writing such intriguing, intense, captivating, riveting, enthralling, historical and entertaining novel The Genres for this Novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction The author writes about The Chelsea Hotel and its history, and the entertainment industry In a good portion of the novel the McCarthy era, and witch hunt for Communists is mentioned Fiona Davis vividly describes the architecture, landscape, and characters in her novel The dramatic cast of characters are described as complex and complicated There are betrayals and danger Friendship is one of the themes in this novel, and the timeline is approximately 20 years Hazel Ripley first meets Maxine Mead in a USO tour during World War Two in Italy The two work together to entertain the troops and then do a radio show Up to this point, Hazel has been an understudy in the theater Both seem to work well together.The Chelsea Hotel has been historically known as the hub for creativity Writers, musicians, actors, artists, and others have been known to stay there New York City is where the Chelsea Hotel is located After the war, Hazel goes to The Chelsea hotel hoping to be a playwright Hazel does write a play, and Maxine returns to become one of the actors in the play Unfortunately, the political times are not stable in the entertainment history Senator Joseph McCarthy is looking at the industry for communists There is a book that blacklists suspected people in this industry In this amazing story, there is espionage, love, betrayal, danger, and shattered dreams and hopes I highly recommend this intense thought provoking novel.

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