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The Masterpiece

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  23,922 ratings  ·  2,244 reviews
In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiec
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Dutton
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Gretchen Not that I picked up on. I think it was the name Totto and the years in which they both painted.
Not that I picked up on. I think it was the name Totto and the years in which they both painted.
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  23,922 ratings  ·  2,244 reviews

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Angela M (On a little break)
3.5 stars

I’ve only seen the Grand Cental Terminal once several years ago . I knew it was a historic landmark and had been refurbished but I didn’t know the history of it, only focusing on its magnificence as I stood in there taking it in . This story gave me some of that background. I was drawn to Fiona Davis’ novel mainly because I enjoy reading about historic New York City and most of this story takes place there in 1920’s as well the nearer history of the 1970’s . In the dual narratives, we
Diana | Book of Secrets
THE MASTERPIECE is about two women, fifty years apart, whose parallel stories suddenly intersect at New York City's historic Grand Central. It's clearly well researched regarding what was happening at the train station in the late 1920s and early 1970s, on the verge of the Great Depression, and later, at risk of being demolished.

I have mixed feelings about this book. While I thought Clara's story in the earlier time period was more interesting, I never quite warmed to Clara's character (though
Cindy Burnett
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

The Masterpiece is Fiona Davis’ best book to date, and I have loved all three of her books. New York City is one of my favorite places to visit, and each of Davis’ books contains a myriad of fascinating details about a particular building and era in the city. The Masterpiece focuses on Grand Central Terminal (I never knew it was Grand Central Terminal versus Grand Central Station) during the late-1920’s and the mid-1970’s, two very different time periods for the terminal. In 1928, Clara
Katie B
I jumped on the chance to read this because I really liked Fiona Davis's last book, The Address. The action goes back and forth between 1920s New York City in which Clara is teaching at Grand Central School of Art and trying to make it big as an illustrator and the 1970s in which newly divorced Virginia Clay is working at the Grand Central Terminal. Virginia stumbles upon a watercolor in the abandoned art school and sets out find the artist. This is a historical fiction book which also focuses o ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: New York City, April 1928

Clara Darden's illustration class at the Grand Central School of Art, tucked under the copper eaves of the terminal, was unaffected by the trains that rumbled through ancient layers of Manhattan schist hundreds of feet below. But somehow, a surprise visit from Mr Lorette, the school's director, had the disruptive power of a locomotive weighing in at thousands of tons.

Even before Mr Lorette was a factor, Clara had been anxious about the annual faculty exhibition
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars!

After loving Fiona Davis’ previous novel, The Address, I was thrilled to get my hands on The Masterpiece. This book was told in two POV‘s - Clara and Virginia, 50 years apart. I loved the Grand Central Station setting and learning about its history, especially the Grand Central School of Art in the late 1920’s and early ‘30’s.

Ms. Davis really does a great job in her historical storytelling. I learn a lot from reading her books. In fact, she is one of the very few authors who turned me
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
3.5 engaging stars

This was my very first book by Fiona Davis and of course, being a former New York girl, I was so enticed by its setting, that of New York's Grand Central terminal. The original terminal was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and than later redone in 1903 becoming the biggest construction project in New York's history up to that time. Taking ten years to complete, it was built on seventy acres, thirty-two miles of track, and thirty passenger platforms. It has an amazing history and w
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

What would an art school teacher and an information booth attendee have in common besides Grand Central since the women lived 50 years apart? You would be surprised.

Clara taught illustration at the art school when it was in its hey day, and Virginia needed to work since she had been recently divorced. Since Virginia had no skills, the information booth was the best the temp agency could do for her.

The connection Virginia had to Clara was a drawing she found in the abandoned art school on the s
Enjoyable and entertaining read! I loved the setting of the Grand Central Terminal and the art aspect to this novel was quite intriguing.

Full review to follow shortly

*Traveling Sisters Read*

Jennifer Blankfein
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank goodness for jury duty - allowing me to read the bulk of this fascinating historical fiction novel in one sitting! So much to enjoy -Please follow for all reviews and recommendations. Visit my blog to see all photos included in the review.

Choosing a book to read is personal and everyone gravitates toward what they believe will resonate with them. My dance class book group is eclectic and we all have different and varied interests. Last month we chose t
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

All the stars!!! Seriously, I couldn't be more excited about The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis. This was my first time reading a book by her and it will clearly not be my last.

What it's about: Told in dual timelines, we get the stories of Clara Darden who is a female painter and illustrator in the 1920's, and the story of Virginia Clay which is set in the 1970s and largely deals with the fight to save Grand Central Terminal. Throw in a mystery about a watercolor and an anonymous painter na
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fiona Davis was one of the first HF authors I read and enjoyed, I loved both The Dollhouse and The Address and have been super excited about The Masterpiece. Davis has honed a keen ability to write dazzling stories about NYC, she really brings the city to life and truly sweeps you away to a different time and place.

This is told via a dual narrative flipping from the 1920s where Clara is a young artist trying to break in to a world where men rule and then Virginia in the 1970s as she also faces o
Jul 17, 2022 rated it liked it
The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis is not one of my favorite books of hers. About two women 50 years apart. A lost painting by one woman who created it. 50 years later it is found only to be swindled away. Kind of a slower moving book. Did not enjoy it as much as many of hers
Connie G
Grand Central Terminal in New York City was a masterpiece when it was built. The cover of the book features the beautiful marble concourse with a turquoise vaulted ceiling painted to show the constellations in the sky. In 1928 Clare Darden was teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. The independent, prickly woman was achieving success as an illustrator until the Great Depression put many artists out of work. Clare also suffered a devastating loss in her personal life.

Almost fifty years late
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story is centered around New York's Grand Central Terminal and two women that worked there during different eras. Clair,a young woman who teaches at the art school in the 1920's. But dreams of doing the cover for Vogue. Later in the 1970's the Grand Central is much different and more dangerous than in the 1920's we meet Virginia. Recently divorced who takes a job at the information booth to support herself and her daughter Ruby. When Virginia happens to discover the old art school sh
Deacon Tom F
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb Story

4 1/2 Stars

"The Masterpiece,” by Fiona Davis is another superb story by this award winning author.

The plot moves across two time periods -- the late 1920s and the mid-1970s with great details about both. It is truly an entertaining work of historical fiction surrounding a topic that is easy for me to love—art.

As usual, I thoroughly loved the strength of the female characters, Clara and Virginia, as they adapted to their changing plot points.

Clara, a well published illustrator, in
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
" Fiona glamours the romance inside the history, with a touch of mystery! "
The Masterpiece is really the most Anticipiated book of the Year, my dearest Author hits this historical fiction novel in its finest! I couldn't even put the book down, it was extremely professionally written, and all the main characters were so mysterious so it was the plot!
So there are two parallel narratives, Clara wishes to illustrate magazine covers for Vogue, and Virginia divorced and a mother, she hopes for a bet
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Oh wow listening to this book was such a great experience. THIS is just the kind of dual storyline book I love to read with two fascinating stories linked together by a painting. First, I just want to say that I got Beatriz Williams vibes while listening to this book. And I LOVE Beatriz Williams books, so that's a plus. Second, not setting one of the stories in the present time was fabulous. I have a deep love for both the 20s and the 70s and now I got them both.

THE MASTERPIECE is the very first
Mel (Epic Reading)
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It should be known up-front that I'm a big fan of Fiona Davis'. Her writing, characters and choice of historical settings are always superb. As with most of Davis' historical fiction there are two women in two separate timelines that eventually come together. You might think that perhaps this choice of set-up in historical fiction would eventually feel overused or loose it's magic as it's been used to death; but for me it's the perfect way to relate a story.

I seem to always have an affin
The Masterpiece is an enchanting piece of historical fiction and well deserving of all 5 stars! This is my first time reading a novel written by Fiona Davis, but I will definitely not be my last! 

My mother is an artist and was an art history professor until she retired, so art has always been a fascinating and beloved part of my life. I immediately knew based on the synopsis that I would thoroughly enjoy this story since thanks to my mother and her passionate love of all things New York and it's
Jun 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
4 Stars for The Masterpiece (audiobook) by Fiona Davis read by Cassandra Campbell.

This is a wonderful story set in and around Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The story is told from two different women’s perspectives. One is a art teacher at the Grand Central School of Art in 1928. And the other is a woman that is forced by chance to take a job at the information booth at the Grand Central Terminal in 1974. The story is largely in the art world and it’s intriguing to see how the author
After giving between 4 to 5 hours to this audio book, I am calling it quits. It is a case of it is me, not you. I do not intend any negativity to the author. I loved The Address. This one is progressing too slowly, I can not stay interested. It is character driven with no action so far, so I feel like nothing is happening, but maybe I just don't have enough patience. But, the cover is beautiful! ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
An interesting story centered on the Grand Central Terminal in NYC told from the viewpoint of two different women, 50 years apart. Clara Darden is an instructor at the famed Grand Central Art School in the 1920's struggling to make a career as an illustrator. Virginia Clay is a newly divorced woman in 1974 trying to make a new life with her young adult daughter, Ruby.

Clara tries hard to make a success at her art which is difficult as a woman in 1928. She gets a temporary job teaching students
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars Thank you to Penguins' First to Read and Dutton for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC. Publishes August 7, 2018.

Another 'masterpiece' by Fiona Davis.

Davis is becoming one of my all time favorite authors. Her mastery at taking current buildings back to their hey day is both wonderful and enlightening. She sets the mark for renewing the history of some of our well known popular structures.

This book takes us back into the history of Grand Central Station. We move throug
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The Masterpiece is a love letter to Artists and NYC’s Grand Central Terminal. It is a story of love, betrayal, ambition, mystery, and jealousy. It is also about misogyny and how much more difficult it is for women to succeed than men

The story takes place in two different time periods, late 1920s/early 1930s and the 1970s, and each features a strong woman — Clara Darden in the former and Virginia Clay in the latter. Clara Darden is an illustrator who works at the Grand Central School of Art and w
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Historical Fictional novel, The Masterpiece, has two POVs, two different decades: fifty years apart, two Masterpieces and one mystery. Imbedded within are two intelligent and talented women fighting for their right to have a voice in their lives, especially regarding their livelihoods.
In 1928, Clara Darden is a young struggling artist trying to keep her new job as an assistant instructor at the famed Grand Central Art School, ‘tucked under the eaves’ on the 7th floor of the Grand Central Termin
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is such an enjoyable book!

The Masterpiece is the story of 2 women: Clara Darden, an illustrator who teaches at the Grand Central School of Art in 1928; and Virginia Clay, a newly divorced woman and mother of a college age daughter who has just taken a job in the information booth at Grand Central Terminal in 1975. Both women are trying to survive in a world where women are not afforded the opportunity that they deserve. When Virginia discovers an old watercolor in the dregs of the old art s
Fiona Davis brings to life the story of Grand Central Terminal and the fight to preserve its Landmark status in this historical fiction tale!

The story alternates between the lives of two strong female characters- Virginia Clay who is a 1970’s New York City divorcee trying to resume her life as a single woman, and Clara Darden, an artist and fashion illustrator who is trying to establish her reputation as a talented artist in 1920-1930’s New York City.

The alternating stories of the two women are
3.5 Stars
Fiona Davis is an excellent writer but I just didn't love this like I thought I would. The narrative is slower than I like and I had trouble connecting to the characters. The history of Grand Central is fascinating and the first part of the book is certainly better than the second, but it isn't enough to make this book a four star read.

Thank you to Edelweiss for a copy of the book.
Jamie Rosenblit
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
4.5 stars!

I am really happy to be able to say I have read all of Fiona Davis' books and have loved them all! When I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Masterpiece, it was a no brainer. One thing that I especially love about Fiona's books are that they take place in my very own city of New York! I love being able to visualize the places she discusses and how they must have looked back when the book was set.

The Masterpiece takes place in both the 1920s and the 1970s (I love
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Fiona Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of six historical fiction novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including The Magnolia Palace, The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue, which was a Good Morning America book club pick. Her novels have been chosen as “One Book, One Community” reads and her articles have appeared in publications like The Wall Street Journ ...more

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