Book Cover The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis
Books,  Historical Fiction

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

Book Cover The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis
Special thanks to Dutton & KCCPR for providing our copy of The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis in exchange for an honest & fair review.

The Chelsea Girls

The Chelsea Girls
Published: 7/30/2019
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 a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women's lives--from the national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address. From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City's creative oasis…

New York’s iconic Chelsea Hotel is the backdrop for this riveting tale of the friendship and trials two women experience in their twenty-year friendship. The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis is a dazzling piece of historical fiction.


Landing in Italy during World War II, Hazel Riley is a wide-eyed new addition to the USO tour. She is an aspiring actress that is best known as an understudy. Her fresh-faced appearance and reticence to take charge quickly earns her the nickname Hayseed Hazel.

Maxine Mead, on the other hand, is the leading lady oozing with personality and looks to become a star. Quick thinking, brave, and confident, Maxine is seemingly everything Hazel is not. With little in common, it isn’t long until the two women find themselves in the midst of a riotous predicament that seals their friendship.


Returning from war, Maxine introduces Hazel to New York City’s haven for creatives, the Chelsea Hotel. The combination of chaotic sanctuary for aspiring artists, actors, writers, and musicians with encouragement from her best friend, inspires Hazel to pursue her passion for becoming a playwright. She must balance crafting her first masterpiece with making ends meet. Scraping by and working tirelessly has to pay off.

Meanwhile, Maxine is drawn to California both to be closer to her lover. Upon arrival, she quickly makes the leap from aspiring actress to rising Hollywood star. A trip back to New York gives her another chance to be the leading lady on stage as a “real” actress.

As the story of The Chelsea Girls unfolds alternating between the voices of Hazel and Maxine, we ride their tumultuous emotional journeys. It is possible to love your friend so deeply, while still being jealous of their success.


Being in the entertainment industry during McCarthyism isn’t easy though. Friends disappear. Colleagues are called in for interrogation. Lists of suspected Communists are circulated to encourage boycotting and blacklisting.

Hazel may have protested fascism during the war, but hasn’t been political since. Maxine once went out with a boy who took her to a rally. But do these acts suffice to get them blacklisted? With the Red Scare bringing suspicion down upon their lives, the tightly knit community they’ve built begins to unravel.


I am Really Into This book. Davis takes us on a tumultuous ride through female friendship, the agony of McCarthy era blacklisting, and the way we cope with adversity. When reality seems too crazy to be true – do we stand up for what is right or do we name names? The Chelsea Girls is historical fiction that wraps its arms around us, and invites us into this page-turning read.

The lowdown on The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis from Goodreads

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About the Author: Fiona Davis

Photo: Deborah Feingold

Fiona began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked 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 journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Fiona’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

She’s a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City.

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