By Fiona Davis
Writing about landmarks is author Fiona Davis’ specialty, and she does it up right. Her latest novel, The Masterpiece, is focused on New York’s Grand Central Terminal and the Grand Central School of Art located on the seventh floor of the east wing of the terminal.
Clara Darden is a starving artist who lands a teaching job at the art school in 1928 quite by accident. Clara has abundant art talent as an illustrator and is determined to further her career. Through the years, she does succeed in a man’s world. Her creations glorify the cover of Vogue magazine, and she eventually broadens her talent to the vehicle industry with images of interior designs that appeal to a woman’s tastes.
However, hard times ensue as the country gears up for the Second World War, and Clara finds herself without her beloved art school, friendless, and alone. Her adventure into watercolors dies before her marvelous talent is revealed.
In 1974 Virginia Clay is also a victim to tragic losses as her husband abandons her and her college-age daughter. Then shortly after Virginia undergoes a mastectomy. Feelings of loss surround her and Virginia finds herself in need of employment, as she no longer resides in the upper classes of the city.
She finds a position in the information booth and spends her lunch discovering the now dilapidated Grand Central Terminal. Her days are filled with exploring the historical building. When she hears about the Grand Central School of Art, her own art history education tugs at her heart to learn more about the terminal and school. Virginia stumbles on a watercolor by Clyde and recognizes the piece to be the same one she saw in an upcoming art auction. Could this painting be the precursor to the auction piece?
Virginia and her daughter work diligently to unmask the artist behind the picture and at the same time piece together the history of the Grand Central Terminal. The history of the terminal and school is a great story. I hope you enjoy the works of Fiona Davis. She has two other novels; The Dollhouse and The Address, which also showcase landmarks.