Review: The Girl from The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

‘Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …’

 image001New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Hazel Gaynor is the one to watch in the growing world of historical fiction. Her previous novels, The Girl Who Came Home (2014), and A Memory of Violets (2015) beautifully illustrated the harrowing era of the Titanic and the gritty streets of London in the 1800s. Now Hazel takes readers into the roaring ‘20s weaving true events and amazing details and envision what it is like in one of the most dazzling ages.

In THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, we meet Dolly Lane, a dreamer but a downtrodden maid fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier Dolly loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life. But once Dolly makes her way as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, she takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion.

Soon after Dolly makes her way to The Savoy, her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s ad for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. In the end, Dolly must choose between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?  At the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make a difficult choice: between two men; between two classes; between everything she knows and everything she dreams of.

“A disarmingly charming story of a young woman determined to make her dreams a reality. THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY is as sweet as a love song, as energetic as a tap dance and full of dazzling details about life in London after the disasters of the Great War. I won’t soon forget Dolly Lane, and her rise from loneliness and hardship to the glitter of stardom.”     — Jeanne Mackin, author of The Beautiful American


This enchanting story is narrated by three of its characters: Dolly the chambermaid, Teddy the soldier, and Loretta the starlet.  These characters are living vastly different lives, yet their stories overlap in this beautifully written book.  Each narrative provides vivid details bringing war torn London to life, and the separate voices paint one clear image.  As with her previous books, the author’s exceptional storytelling makes for a memorable read.

At the forefront of the tale is Dolly the chambermaid.  She has one foot in her stark reality and one foot in the door of the life she longs for.  The Great War changed everything for her and Teddy, and they each adapt to the new life forced upon them.  While Teddy suffers from shell shock in a hospital, Dolly does her best to rise above her rank, making friends with the glamorous Loretta and her brother Perry.

I really enjoyed the story that unfolds and the universal truths that are on display: ambition takes courage, things are never as they seem, and life is full of difficult choices.  I don’t want to spoil the plot, as the the events (and how they come about) are a big part of this story’s charm.  I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys impeccably researched historical fiction and masterful storytelling.


Hazel Gaynor photoHazel Gaynor’s 2014 debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME was a NYT and USA Today bestseller and winner of the 2015 RNA Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her second novel A MEMORY OF VIOLETS was also a NYT and USA Today bestseller.

Hazel is one of nine contributing authors to WWI anthology FALL OF POPPIES – Stories of Love and the Great War. Her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY is available now.

Hazel writes a popular guest blog ‘Carry on Writing’ for national Irish writing website and also contributes special guest features for the site, interviewing authors such as Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse, Sebastian Faulks, Cheryl Strayed and Rachel Joyce among others.

Hazel was the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was selected by Library Journal as one of ten big breakout authors for 2015. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

To keep up-to-date with Hazel’s latest news, visit her website or her Facebook page at

Hazel is represented by Michelle Brower of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth/Kuhn Projects, New York.


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