Having spent the past couple of years slogging my way through World War II historical novels, I have become somewhat addicted to stories that take place in a much more hopeful era – the Roaring Twenties. True, there were those poor souls returning from fighting in the horrific First World War, but in the 1920s, people were optimistic that things would be better and that they would be able to find alcohol even in the midst of temperance.
The Girl from The Savoy, a novel written by the prolific author Hazel Gaynor, tells the story of one young woman who was darkly impacted by World War I, but faces the future with great hope and spirit.
Dolly Lane, a talented dancer, has always dreamed of being in show business. Her dream conflicted with her love for hometown boyfriend Teddy, who is a victim of World War I. Through the help of a friend, Dolly gets a job as a housekeeper at London’s famed Savoy Hotel, where she hopes to become recognized by some of the famous show business people who live there.
She has a chance encounter with a young businessman as she rushes to work on the first day, and can’t begin to imagine how that encounter will impact her life. It isn’t long before Dolly answers an unusual ad to be a muse to a young songwriter. Through this position, she meets and becomes friends with well-known actress Loretta May, who will change Dolly’s life. But Loretta has her own sad secret. Wars have a way of affecting everyone in some way or the other.
Though Dolly is the star of the show, the novel is told in three separate voices. The author does a great job of keeping the voices unique but consistent, thereby eliminating confusion. It isn’t long before Dolly faces some difficult choices which will pave the way for the rest of her life.
The author is recognized as a romance writer, but the novel is not sappy-sweet and the characters are likeable. I love the descriptions of The Savoy Hotel, almost feeling its elegance. The ending is satisfying if somewhat predictable.