Posted in Reviews

Review of the Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis


I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but, as a librarian and an author, I like to try various genres. Fiona Davis is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Her books are compelling, set in New York, and well researched. Her latest, The Magnolia Palace, is no exception. In fact, it kept me glued to the pages until the end and then I was rewarded with historical details about the Frick family who were featured in the book.

I enjoyed how the story alternated between the years 1919 and 1966. The two main characters, Lilly Carter (Angelica), a model who lost her mother in 1919 from the Spanish flu, ends up as private secretary to Helen Frick at her home before it’s turned into the New York City art museum that she founds. Lilly takes on this position by accident after fleeing her home when suspected of concealing information about her landlord’s murder. In 1966, a young woman named Veronica, also a model, travels from England to New York to audition at the Frick Museum in the hope that she can make enough money to bring home her sick sister whose medical expenses and care her mother can no longer afford.

What ties Lilly and Veronica together is a missing jewel — the magnolia diamond that is hidden somewhere in the Frick residence. When Lilly worked there, she’d followed scavenger hunt clues to locate it without any luck. Veronica, trapped alone there with a young man during a snowstorm, comes across these clues and follows the hunt with her friend.

There’s much more to the story including a romance, a murder, and a twist, but I don’t want to ruin it for those who like surprises. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, can’t-put-down read.




I'm a retired librarian and the author of the Cobble Cove and Buttercup Bend cozy mystery series and other novels, short stories, poems, articles, and a novella. My books include CLOUDY RAINBOW, REASON TO DIE, SEA SCOPE, MEMORY MAKERS, TIME'S RELATIVE, MEOWS AND PURRS, and MEMORIES AND MEOWS. My Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing consists of 6 books: A STONE'S THROW, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, WRITTEN IN STONE, LOVE ON THE ROCKS, NO GRAVESTONE UNTURNED, and SNEAKY'S SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY AND OTHER COBBLE COVE STORIES. My new Buttercup Bend series published by Next Chapter Publishing includes THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY and THE CASE OF THE PARROT LOVING PROFESSOR. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My poetry appears in the Nassau County Voices in Verse and the Bard's Annual. I'm a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 2 cats.

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