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 librarian at a public library and 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, MEOW AND PURRS, and the 6 books of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series: 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. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks by Solstice Publishing and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My standalone psychological thriller, SEA SCOPE, my medical mystery, MEMORY MAKERS, and my time-travel novel, TIME'S RELATIVE are published by NEXT CHAPTER PUBLISHING who has also published my cat poetry book, MEOWS AND PURRS, and the first book of my new Buttercup Bend cozy mystery series, THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY. I've also signed with Next Chapter for a reprint of PET POSTS: THE CAT CHATS, my non-fiction cat book that will be retitled MEMORIES AND MEOWS. I am a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Long Island Authors Group, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 2 cats.

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