Title: The Manhattan Girls

Author: Gill Paul

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books

The Blurb


An impossible dream.

The war is over, the twenties are roaring, but in the depths of the city that never sleeps, Dorothy Parker is struggling to make her mark in a man’s world.

A broken woman.

She’s penniless, she’s unemployed and her marriage is on the rocks when she starts a bridge group with three extraordinary women – but will they be able to save her from herself?

A fight for survival.

When tragedy strikes, and everything Dorothy holds dear is threatened, it’s up to Peggy, Winifred and Jane to help her confront the truth before it’s too late. Because the stakes may be life or death…

A new novel from the internationally bestselling author, Sex and the City meets the 1920s in this sweeping tale of love, loss and the everlasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis, Dinah Jefferies and Chanel Cleeton.

The Review

One of my all time favourite tropes in novels in when the writer takes a real life person or situation and moulds the story around them or it. Gill Paul is masterful at writing historical fiction. I loved her book The Paris Wife and I felt no less love for The Manhattan Girls.

The Manhattan Girls focuses on the lives of four women who had a modicum of fame in 1920s New York – a time of great social change but also a time where morals ruled the streets and those who flouted the rules visited the seedy underbelly. It was a time of prohibition – where bathtub gin was the norm. A time when women were able to find their feet and stand their ground…but this didn’t come easy.

I absolutely adored this tale of Dorothy Parker and her friends. I didn’t know a lot about them before going in to the novel but afterwards I felt like I had been present to a slice of history. Gill Paul is brilliant at transporting you to a time or place, you feel like you are a fly on the wall.

An absolutely stunning historical drama steeped in the power of friendship.

The Manhattan Girls by Gill Paul is available now.

For more information regarding Gill Paul (@GillPaulAUTHOR) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Avon Books (@AvonBooksUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Meet Me in the Bathroom – Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 – 2011

Author: Lizzy Goodman

Pages: 622 Pages

Publisher: Dey Street Books

The Blurb

Joining the ranks of the classics Please Kill Me, Our Band Could Be Your Life, and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, an intriguing oral history of the post-9/11 decline of the old-guard music industry and rebirth of the New York rock scene, led by a group of iconoclastic rock bands.

In the second half of the twentieth-century New York was the source of new sounds, including the Greenwich Village folk scene, punk and new wave, and hip-hop. But as the end of the millennium neared, cutting-edge bands began emerging from Seattle, Austin, and London, pushing New York further from the epicenter. The behemoth music industry, too, found itself in free fall, under siege from technology. Then 9/11/2001 plunged the country into a state of uncertainty and war—and a dozen New York City bands that had been honing their sound and style in relative obscurity suddenly became symbols of glamour for a young, web-savvy, forward-looking generation in need of an anthem.

Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it—including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend—and the cultural forces that shaped it, from the Internet to a booming real estate market that forced artists out of the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Drawing on 200 original interviews with James Murphy, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Ezra Koenig, and many others musicians, artists, journalists, bloggers, photographers, managers, music executives, groupies, models, movie stars, and DJs who lived through this explosive time, journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Meet Me in the Bathroom is fascinating. I think everyone has that period in time when music plays a vital role in their formative years. For my mum it was the summer of 1976. For me, it was 2000 – 2011. The bands and artists featured in Meet Me in the Bathroom were my musical guides. They were the most played artists on my iPod and they were the bands I rocked out to at gigs and festivals. I never thought I would have a book like this that reflected on such a fluid time period. I especially did not think I would get to read a book that featured Adam Green (one of my musical heroes).

What is absolutely brilliant about Meet Me in the Bathroom is that it isn’t just the voice of the author Lizzy Goodman. These are the stories of the people within that scene. What makes it even better is that the stories all have a connecting root but each artist seems to have lived it slightly differently or had their own take on it. It is truth in its difference. Fascinating.

For those of you who lived and loved music during this time period, when indie bands seemed to rule the world (your own personal world at least) the Meet Me in the Bathroom is the book for you. You get the inside knowledge from the artists who lived it and it allows you to look back on a time when you felt invincible. 

Meet Me in the Bathroom – Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 – 2011 by Lizzy Goodman is available now.

For more information regarding Lizzy Goodman (@lizzydgoodman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Dey Street Books (@deystreet) please visit www.DeyStreetBooks.com.

Title: City on Fire

Author: Garth Risk Hallberg

Pages: 911 Pages

Publisher: Vintage Books/Penguin Random House

The Blurb

Midnight, New Year’s Eve, 1976. Nine lives are about to be changed forever.

Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, heirs to one of New York’s greatest fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by the punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbour – and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve.

Then, on July 13th, 1977, the lights go out.

The Review

Oh boy. What can I say about City on Fire. Well, it’s long. At 911 pages it is a beast of a book. If I had to say something about City on Fire it is that is like a version of Love Actually that tries too hard to be cool.

That probably sounds a bit harsh but hear me out. You have these interconnecting stories that take place over various time frames but all the characters are intrinsically linked to one character who spends the majority of the story in a coma. So far, this actually seems like a pretty interesting set up for a novel. However, you spend the majority of your time trying to keep up with whose story you are currently reading and then what their plot line is. So I kind of felt lost for the majority of the book.

I think City on Fire is a victim of its own length and really struggles to hold your attention.  I was constantly checking to see when the chapter would be over and not because I was excited to get to the next part.

When a book begins to feel like a chore to read then you know that t I not for you. This is not to say that City on Fire won’t be for somebody. There will be readers who will love all the things I disliked about City on Fire but sadly, for me, it failed to hold m concentration.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg is available now.

For more information regarding Garth Risk Hallberg (@GarthRisk) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Vintage Books (@vintagebooks) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com.

Title: Ask Again, Yes

Author: Mary Beth Keane

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Michael Joseph

The Blurb

A gripping and compassionate drama of two families linked by chance, love and tragedy

Gillam, upstate New York: a town of ordinary, big-lawned suburban houses. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours.

Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone.

It’s left to their children – Lena’s youngest, Kate, and Anne’s only child, Peter – to find their way to one another. To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible tragedy that will engulf them all.

A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later . . .

A story of love and redemption, faith and forgiveness, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood – villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so.

A story of how, if we’re lucky, the violence lurking beneath everyday life can be vanquished by the power of love.


The Review

If I was asked to describe Ask Again, Yes then I think I would really struggle. It isn’t a novel where a lot of things happen and yet loads of things happen. It is a novel that is driven by the relationships of the characters but we have a backdrop of the social history of New York over the decades.

The enduring story is one of love and how it can transcend time and circumstance.

I don’t really know how to sell this book except to say that it is brilliant, engaging and absolutely kept me turning the pages until it was over. I had the comfortably warm feeling after I finished and that to me is a sign of a great book.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane is available now.

For more information regarding Mary Beth Keane (@Mary_Beth_Keane) please visit www.marybethkeane.com.

For more information regarding Michael Joseph (@MichaelJBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: The Masterpiece

Author: Fiona Davis

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Dutton Books

The Blurb

In this captivating novel, national 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 most New Yorkers, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future. It is 1928, and Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. Though not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist,” fiery Clara is single-minded in her quest to achieve every creative success—even while juggling the affections of two very different men. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression…and that even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

By 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Dilapidated and dangerous, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece—an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

The Review

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis is a multi-narrative story set in two time periods: the 1920s and 1970s New York. The two story threads meet in Grand Central Station which is the ideal setting for bustling Art Deco New York meets down and out New York when homelessness was rife and the glamour had definitely worn off.

In the 1920s storyline we follow Clara, a budding artist who is ignored by the art world because of her gender. However, the tide changes for Clara and success begins to pursue her much to the chagrin of others. In the 1970s storyline we meet Virginia. She is also struggling because of the confines of her gender. Recently divorced with no discernible skills to her name she struggles to carve out a new life for herself as an independent woman without a man to hide behind and to be protected by.

What I really like about Fiona Davis’ novels is that she magically weaves real life historical events into her stories which become a third character. You care about the historical element just as much as you care for the characters and their storylines. Furthermore, it opens the reader’s eyes to a slice of history that they may have never known about otherwise.

The Masterpiece is a wonderful story and one of those novels that you read voraciously because you want to know what happens but try to stop yourself from reading because you don’t want it to end.

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis is available now.

For more information regarding Fiona Davis (@FionaJDavis) please visit www.fionadavis.net.

For more information regarding Dutton Books (@DuttonBooks) please visit www.duttonbooks.tumblr.com.