Book review: The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

12 Sep

151661-FCXDolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but the outbreak of war takes everything from her: Teddy, the man she loves – and her hopes of a better life.

When she secures employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly’s proximity to the dazzling guests makes her yearn for a life beyond the grey drudgery she was born into. Her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to an unusual newspaper advert and finds herself thrust into the heady atmosphere of London’s glittering theatre scene and into the sphere of the celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry.

All three are searching for something, yet the aftermath of war has cast a dark shadow over them all. A brighter future is tantalisingly close – but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

I’m delighted to be taking part in The Girl From the Savoy blog tour today by sharing my review with you. Hazel Gaynor is a new author for me although this is her third novel. Having absolutely loved The Girl From The Savoy, this is definitely one of those brilliant times when I’m so happy that an author I’ve just discovered has earlier books that I can read next! I’ve already ordered copies of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets to read as soon as I get chance!

The Girl From The Savoy is set in my favourite era – the 1920s and, as the title suggests features the beautiful Savoy Hotel in London. As a huge fan of 20s glamour and Art Deco style, I’ve always loved The Savoy. I work nearby and for me it still holds that sense of glamour and excitement that Hazel captures in this book. Reading Dolly’s story was like stepping back in time and getting a wonderful ‘behind the scenes’ look at life in the hotel at the height of its fame.

This is a story of glamour and glitz, theatre, fame and bright young things but what I loved about this book is that it’s also a story of love, loss and heartbreak and cleverly shows both the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ sides to life as well as the emotional ups and downs that affect the characters whether they are rich or poor.

Dolly is a brilliant leading lady. As we meet her she’s just starting a new job as a maid at The Savoy; what she hopes will be the first step to the future that she dreams of. It’s hard not to love Dolly – she is the perfect  mix of good Northern practicality, ambition and dreams and I was soon swept up in her story. But Dolly isn’t the only narrator in the book and I also found Teddy and Loretta’s stories equally compelling. The ups and downs of Dolly, Teddy and Loretta’s lives had me gripped and I loved the sense of adventure and triumph over adversity that was a key theme.

Each character has their secrets and mysteries and The Girl From The Savoy surprised me more than once! This is a skillfully researched book and I loved the descriptions of places, music and clothes that transported me to another era. The combination of excellent historical detail, heart-stealing characters and a plot that mixes heartbreak with hope to have you cheering those characters on, is a winner and there are a lot of wise words in this story that I will remember.

I could easily see this book as a wonderful TV series – please someone bring Dolly and friends to life on the screen for me!


The Girl From The Savoy is out now in paperback, audio ebook formats.

Find out more about Hazel and her writing at:

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