Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Chelsea Girls” as Want to Read:
The Chelsea Girls
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Chelsea Girls

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  6,005 ratings  ·  923 reviews
From Fiona Davis, the nationally bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address, 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 the twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women's lives.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to t
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Dutton
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Chelsea Girls, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jennifer In her author's note at the end of the book, Fiona Davis mentions ten different titles, including Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky, The Chelsea Affec…moreIn her author's note at the end of the book, Fiona Davis mentions ten different titles, including Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky, The Chelsea Affect by Arthur Miller, and Over Here, Over There by Maxene Andrews & Bill Gilbert.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,005 ratings  ·  923 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Chelsea Girls
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I finally read my first book by Fiona Davis, and I absolutely loved it.

The Chelsea Hotel in the 1940s and 50s New York is the hotspot for all the creatives in the city. Artists, musicians, poets, filmmakers; they are all here.

Maxine Mead, an actress, and Hazel Riley, a playwright, plan to use the Chelsea to get the ball rolling for their careers. They soon find, however, that making a Broadway show isn’t just about who you know; it’s about politics.

With fear over communism as its backdrop, Senat
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A haven for artists, musicians, writers, and actors, the iconic Chelsea Hotel provides the backdrop for this fictional account of friendship and McCarthyism. The main characters meet in Naples as USO entertainers during 1945. Their friendship continues into the 1960’s. One becomes a famous movie star while the other becomes a playwright and, at times, both live at the Chelsea. During the Cold War, people in the entertainment suffered blacklisting, unfair allegations and investigations leading to ...more
Katie B
This one had a bit of a different feel than the author's other books, but I liked it. The story is centered around the era of McCarthyism which I knew the very basic history of before reading this book. I'm now feeling motivated to seek out other historical fiction or nonfiction books exploring the topic. To me that's always a sign of a good historical fiction book when the author is able to get you interested enough to want to learn more.

It's the 1940s and Hazel Riley and Maxine Mead meet while
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
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
Jennifer Blankfein
Read cover to cover on s perfect summer day at the beach! So many reasons to love this...The McCarthy Era, NYC theater, and the Chelsea Hotel…Fiona Davis has treated us to another wonderful novel, The Chelsea Girls!

I love the historical setting of the Chelsea Hotel in NYC in the 1950s, with writers, actors and musicians in residence; READ FULL REVIEW WITH AUTHOR Q & A NOW ON Book Nation by Jen
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a fun, interesting place The Chelsea Hotel must have been.

Hazel was in a family of performers, but Hazel wasn’t a performer. Hazel was a playwrite.

We meet Hazel when she was on tour with the USO during the war. Hazel met many actors and became friends with them.

We follow Hazel as she moves out of her childhood home and into The Chelsea Hotel during the McCarthy Era. When her friend, Maxine, from the USO, moves in too their friendship is renewed.

The description of the hotel's decorations, th
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, overdrive
I couldn’t get through either “The Address” or “The Masterpiece” by this author, but I enjoyed this book. Fortunately, it did not have dual time periods and I liked the theater setting and the description of the impact of the blacklisting in the 1950s.
Mel (Epic Reading)
As always, Fiona Davis delivers in this startling story about life post-WWII in the theater industry in NYC. This was a time when the FBI and USA government was going crazy about finding the infiltrating communists. So much so that they accused innocent people and ruined many people's lives. Davis does a fabulous job of telling this story.

The Chelsea Hotel
Yes it's a real place. And yes it hosted many celebrities and artists (of all kinds) over the years. I love the little drops of descriptions
May 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 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 stripes...both 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
Lisa Zetes
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love the way this Author writes and each book I have read of her's I truly enjoyed. This book is based at the beginning on 1947 with the film industry coming under attack for being suspected of being in the communist party. This book is based on the true story that happened to many in the industry who's career's were destroyed by being blacklisted unfairly. Author Fiona Davis makes a great story out of this with moviestars, writer, spys, FbI and close friendships within a beautiful hotel where ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book as I greatly enjoyed the other novels by Fiona Davis, but this book fell flat for me. The time period was interesting, especially because there isn't much historical fiction set during the McCarthy Era. Unfortunately the book was overly dramatic and tragic without much character development. I was disappointed.

I received an ARC from NetGalley. It will be released on July 30, 2019.
Robert Sheard
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whether it’s the Barbizon, the Dakota, Grand Central Terminal or The Chelsea Hotel, Fiona Davis has the great talent of weaving her wonderful stories around some of New York City’s most interesting and iconic landmarks. I’ve long been intrigued by the Chelsea Hotel and its history with its wide range of artist inhabitants (check out Leonard Cohen singing about fellow resident Janis Joplin in Chelsea Hotel No. 2.) In The Chelsea Girls, we are taken back to the 1940s to 1960s and the lives of Haze ...more
I read The Chelsea Girls before it was published and found it unsettling for reasons unknown. I put it aside hoping that I would feel differently at a later date which is now. Unfortunately, while I was able to finish the book this time through, my thoughts about the book still are not positive.

The Chelsea Girls is set at the famous Chelsea Hotel in an era spanning the 1940s and 50s. Part of my concern with the book is that I don't believe we are quite far enough removed from this time period t
Camille Maio
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 more.
Jamie Rosenblit
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
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 ...more
Yet another fabulously intriguing story by Fiona Davis!!
Catie (deargentlebookworm)
Life is too short to waste on mediocre books. So for your own sanity, skip this one. The Chelsea Girls is rife with poor character development, typos, and stilted sentence structure. It simply cannot compare with historical fiction greats by authors such as Philippa Gregory or Sharon Kay Penman.

But also, as a random aside, my love for Sharon Kay Penman knows no bounds so it is *almost* an unfair comparison. Almost.

The Chelsea Girls features, to no one’s surprise, the Chelsea Hotel in New York, h
Susan Johnson
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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
On a recent Italian USO tour, actress Maxine Mead and playwright Hazel Riley become fast friends in spring of 1945. After WWII, Max successfully transitions into a Hollywood starlet while Hazel relocates to NYC ending up residing in the illustrious famed Chelsea Hotel. With great delight, Hazel again meets up with Maxine, and the two set sights on making their theatrical mark in the Big Apple. But a black cloud hovers over the country due to political pressures and the communistic Red scare due ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Between a 4 and 4.5

Fiona Davis always writes an entertaining, historical-fiction novel; with a powerful ending.

Author’s notes are stellar.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the setting (Hotel Chelsea, the hotel for authors, poets, theater folks, and artists, in the 1920s-1950s), the theater storyline, and history in this but wasn't sure I believed the characters rang true, especially Maxine. I'll keep thinking about this story for a while though & that's the mark of a good novel. ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5⭐ rounded up to 4 because I felt the second half was stronger and grabbed my interest more than the beginning. My first by the author and I'll try her again. I love the setting but would have loved more detail on the interior of the Chelsea!
Laura In  Literary Land
|Thank you to @NetGalley @duttonbooks #partner|
The Chelsea Girls opens during WWII. The two main characters, Hazel and Maxine, meet on a USO tour in Italy and their friendship is born out of shared trials and circumstances. After the war they return to the states. Hazel returns to New York and her life in the theater world. Maxine goes to Hollywood to try and make it on the silver screen. The rest of the book follows the next 20 years as they endure separation, develop their own lives, and reun
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is Historical Fiction set in the early 1950's. I liked the setting of this. It is frustrating though to think these events or similar, actually took place. So I liked the history in this, but overall, this was a solid 3 stars for me. It seemed kind of light in some areas considering what was going on regarding Un-American Activities and the lives that were ruined because of it. And for some reason I expected more from Hazel. Her life seemed kind of uneventful in the latter portion. I would ...more
Miriam Moore
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a big fan of Fiona Davis and her latest book did not disappoint. Filled with unique characters who are each fighting their own demons in an era where no one could be trusted and loyalty was never guaranteed. A quick satisfying read for anyone who enjoys some history and intrigue with strong female characters
Julia Kelly
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.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grabbed this book on a whim and thrilled I did. If you are interested in how McCarty's reign of terror in search for communists impacted the arts, you will enjoy this read. It also follows a friendship through many years and delivers an unexpected plot twist towards the end. A truly joyous read!
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive-e-book
I was a little disappointed in this book although I can't really put my finger on why. Maybe like some other reviewers, I was expecting the Chelsea Hotel itself to play a bigger part in the story. In my opinion, the story seemed rather superficial without the depth that Fiona Davis's previous books have. The last 100 or so pages were more in line with what I had expected but it was too late for me by then. The topic was certainly interesting and it sounds like the author did a lot of research. I ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another great book by Fiona Davis, who always frames her books with a famous building in New York City. This time, the Chelsea Hotel is her inspiration. The story is about friendship, betrayal, McCarthyism and the witch hunt for communists, Broadway, and artists. As always, I can't wait for her next book, which centers on the New York Public Library!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mary Lib Saleh Eu...: Historical Fiction 1 6 Jan 17, 2020 09:37AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Golden Hour
  • Meet Me in Monaco
  • All the Ways We Said Goodbye
  • The Wicked Redhead (The Wicked City #2)
  • Mistress of the Ritz
  • Lady Clementine
  • The Secrets We Kept
  • The Winemaker's Wife
  • All the Flowers in Paris
  • A Single Thread
  • Park Avenue Summer
  • The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel
  • The Girl in White Gloves
  • Summer of '69
  • Home for Erring and Outcast Girls
  • The Guest Book
  • The Book of Lost Friends
  • The Last Book Party
See similar books…
Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of historical novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including THE CHELSEA GIRLS and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, working on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance j ...more

Articles featuring this book

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our list,...
51 likes · 7 comments
“And many of you bought the lies ... You didn't question them. You didn't fight back. You let this happen ... This is how a society is corrupted, from the inside out. We must make a promise to not ever let this happen again. We must promise to be vigilant against our own worst tendencies. Only by doing so will our country sustain its ideals of freedom.” 0 likes
More quotes…