Gaynor, Hazel. The Girl from the Savoy. New York: William Morrow, 2016.
Paperback | $15.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062403476 | 419 pages | Historical Fiction
The Girl from the Savoy is definitely Hazel Gaynor’s weakest book, in my opinion, not to mention the one I kept putting off, since the writing style was told from multiple perspectives all in first person present tense. But surprisingly, the prose itself isn’t a massive issue, despite the fact that the voices of the characters aren’t always easy to distinguish from one another. In fact, once I got into it, I became absorbed in the drama of Dolly and Loretta’s lives, and how they mirror each other, as well as offering contrasts to one another. I love that this book was at its core about two women’s growth and finding of themselves, with one at the start of a promising acting career and another at her peak and dealing with a dark secret that threatens that.
That being said, this book is something of a mess at times, and I felt unsure of what it was trying to accomplish. I can understand wanting to convey something from Dolly’s past, but while I appreciated the way it delved into her past with another character, Teddy, and their troubled romance, due to World War I, I found myself confused as to why chapters from Teddy’s POV were included, and dating back several years before the start of the main action of the book. It also presented me a kind of false hope, as while Gaynor isn’t writing a romance, the way this relationship between Teddy and Dolly was built up felt not only like a first love but something where they would eventually come back to one another. So when it did not work out that way, while I could respect that Dolly was shown as a strong heroine, I was upset that this possibility had been suggested, at least from my interpretation of it.
While I definitely enjoyed this one a bit less than Gaynor’s other work, I did still feel like it was a decent book to pass the time, and deals with deep topics, even if I feel like it tries to take on more than it can handle. I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for a decent historical novel with depth, but it also fairly easy to get into.