Magnolia Palace

Thank you, Dutton Books, for the gifted copy of Magnolia Palace 🌸 {partner}

Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: New York, 1916 and 1966
Format: 🎧
Pub Date: 1.25.2022
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆


“Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter’s life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists’ models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate—the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion—a building that, ironically, bears her own visage—Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family—pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly fifty years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career—and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home—within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City’s most impressive museums. But when she—along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua—is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica’s financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.”


“The rich think they’re protected, that they have magical powers, when they’re only mortals, like the rest of us. Bodies break down and betray you. People you love die. Children die.”

Well, folks, I finally got around to reading the Magnolia Palace after it sat on my shelf for a year. I don’t want to admit how often I looked at the stunning book and didn’t pick it up. But I’m so glad I finally read it (well listened to) because it was a delight!

I always love Davis’ books as she has a captivating way of bringing history to life through endearing characters, familiar places, and always a hint of mystery. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the historical fiction + mystery mash-up may be my favorite trope.

My only two criticisms about Magnolia Palace are that I did not love Veronica’s character. She lacked the characteristics of the strong female protagonist I could see her being, and I also disagreed with her choices (even if she did try to make up for her actions). The other issue is that the ending felt rushed and too easy. There were a lot of moving pieces that seemed to just come together in an unrealistic way.

If you choose to read Magnolia Palace, which you should, I encourage you to read the Author’s Note at the end. It brought the whole story together and shed some light on a woman from history that was neglected and forgotten.

✌🏼Dual timeline (1916 + 1966)
🎭 Family drama with lots of secrets
🏯 Frick Mansion setting
🔀 Historical Fiction + Mystery genre mash-up

I recommend reading Magnolia Palace if you enjoyed reading any of Fiona Davis’ other books or are looking for a bit of history and mystery combination from your next read.

Format: 340 pages,
Published: January 2022
ISBN 9780593184011 (ISBN10: 0593184017)

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