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The Spectacular

NYT Bestselling author Fiona Davis delivers another fascinating page-turner!

It's 1956, and Marion, age 19, is anticipating a proposal from her boyfriend, but she dreams of being a professional dancer. She auditions for the famous Radio City Rockettes on a lark and lands a coveted spot. Her dilemma is telling her father who wants her to settle down. Meanwhile, a bomber has been terrorizing New York City for 16 years by planting bombs in public places. When Marion finds herself dangerously close to the bomber, she finds herself pulled into the investigation.

I enjoyed every minute of this, with its dual timeline, rich period detail, and iconic NYC setting! The plot combines fact and fiction with mystery, suspense, and romance against a glamourous backdrop of Radio City Music Hall and its famous Rockettes. I was fascinated by the behind-the-scenes looks at both The Rockettes and how criminal profiling came to be used to solve crimes. The way Davis writes makes you feel the time and place, and in this one, 1950s Radio City comes alive, both onstage and off, and the brewing romance and race to find the bomber had me immersed and riveted. Marion is full of grit, determination, and ambition and pushed back at the limited societal options she faced, and I rooted for her. The Author’s Note was fascinating, with information about the real bomber who terrorized NYC for nearly two decades. I loved this, and highly recommended it to historical fiction lovers!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for the opportunity to review this ARC.

My steep was No.38, Majorelle Mint from Bellocq, a green tea with mint and citus.


From the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Magnolia Palace: A thrilling story about love, sacrifice, and the pursuit of dreams, set amidst the glamour and glitz of Radio City Music Hall in its mid-century heyday.

New York City, 1956: Nineteen-year-old Marion Brooks knows she should be happy. Her high school sweetheart is about to propose and sweep her off to the life everyone has always expected they’d have together: a quiet house in the suburbs, Marion staying home to raise their future children. But instead, Marion finds herself feeling trapped. So when she comes across an opportunity to audition for the famous Radio City Rockettes—the glamorous precision-dancing troupe—she jumps at the chance to exchange her predictable future for the dazzling life of a performer.

Meanwhile, the city is reeling from a string of bombings orchestrated by a person the press has nicknamed the “Big Apple Bomber,” who has been terrorizing the citizens of New York for sixteen years by planting bombs in popular, crowded spaces. With the public in an uproar over the lack of any real leads after a yearslong manhunt, the police turn in desperation to Peter Griggs, a young doctor at a local mental hospital who espouses a radical new technique: psychological profiling.

As both Marion and Peter find themselves unexpectedly pulled in to the police search for the bomber, Marion realizes that as much as she’s been training herself to blend in—performing in perfect unison with all the other identical Rockettes—if she hopes to catch the bomber, she’ll need to stand out and take a terrifying risk. In doing so, she may be forced to sacrifice everything she’s worked for, as well as the people she loves the most.

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