The Address

by Fiona Davis
 From the author of The Dollhouse - this story focuses on The Dakota in New York City - The Address by Fiona Davis

Discussion Questions

1. Sara's mother projects many of her hopes and dreams onto Sara, expressing great disappointment when Sara ends up working as a maid and following in her footsteps. Ironically, Sara and her mother wind up in similar stations in life for almost identical reasons. Why do you think they choose to avoid sharing their experiences with each other? What does their silence say about women's lives at that time? How does it speak to the relationship between mother and daughter? If this scene was set in contemporary times, would they have been more likely to relate to and open up to one another? Why or why not?

2. Part of Theo's charm is his ability to provide Sara access to experiences that someone of her social class would normally never have access to. Was there anything inappropriate about their first encounter in her office when Theo came to thank Sara for saving his daughter's life? Why or why not? As Theo's advances toward Sara grew bolder, how did the uneven power dynamic show itself in their relationship? Did you feel that it was fair to Sara? Why or why not?

3. Bailey, Renzo, and other tenants of the Dakota view Melinda's renovations as disrespectful to the history of the building. How do you feel about renovating historic buildings? What value, if any, do you think there is in preserving the original architecture and design of historic buildings? What value is there in updating and modernizing facilities, amenities, and possibly even aesthetic?

4. Kenneth's stories reflect another facet of the Dakota's history, when "they began letting in the artistic types' who were known to throw wild parties that offended "the snooty old guard of the building. He is the Dakota's unofficial historian, yet he continues to be looked down upon by the other residents because he originally worked as a butler in the building. Why do you think Kenneth stays at the Dakota? Have cultural attitudes toward certain custodial professions shifted over the past century? Do you know anyone that works at a job that others might consider beneath them? Have you spoken to them about their experience of the job? If so, how do they feel about it?

5. Fiona Davis based Sara's experience at Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum on historical accounts of conditions at in-patient mental health institutions in the 1800s. Were you surprised that patients were treated so poorly at the asylum? What practices or treatments were most affecting? In what ways has society changed (or stayed the same) in its understanding and treatment of mental illness? Do you have any personal experiences from your own life, anyone you know, or even from the media, that inform your views of mental illness?

6. Nellie Bly appears in The Address as a fictionalized portrayal of the real journalist who went undercover to expose the brutality and neglect at the women's lunatic asylum on Blackwell's Island, which she described in a series of articles in the New York World and later in her book Ten Days in a Mad-House. Were you aware of Bly's work prior to reading this novel? What impression were you left with of her after reading The Address? What role does her character play in the development of the story? Is she a major or a minor character, and why?

7. Sara decides to keep her pregnancy secret during her time on Blackwell's Island, despite the additional health risks for her and her child. Why do you think she makes that decision? What would you have done? Is there a moral or ethical element at play?

8. Bailey has a complicated relationship with her father. In what ways are they similar or alike? Why does Jack resent the Camdens? Why do you think he is so hesitant to look more closely into their family's past? Put yourself in his shoes. How would you feel about this situation? Does your opinion of Jack change or stay the same as the story unfolds?

9. Both Sara and Bailey are drawn to situations that have the potential to damage their reputation and future. Though both suffer to some degree as a result of their choices, Bailey is able to turn her life around, while Sara is not. What might this indicate about the differences in class fluidity, cultural morality standards, and gender norms in their respective time periods?

10. What do you think about Mrs. Camden and her relationship with Theo? Do you truly believe she was relieved that Sara and Theo had an intimate relationship, as she implied? Why or why not? Why do you think she agreed to raise Christopher as her ward? Do you think she, Theo, or both of them are to blame for their unhappy marriage? Did your opinion of her change throughout the novel? Why or why not?

11. Finally, why do you think Sara decides to take the blame for what happens to Theo? Did she have another choice? Why or why not? What would you have done?

Discussion questions by the publisher

PBRHome- for bookish gifts

Recent Book Reviews

Book Review -  Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renee Rosen

Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

By Renee Rosen
This book is a must-read for anyone who's interested in the fashion world or enjoys reading stories about female friendships. It follows the journey of Gloria and Estee Lauder, two women who share their dreams of working in ...More

 Book Review - The Spectacular by Fiona Davis

The Spectacular

By Fiona Davis
It's 1956, and Marion, a passionate dancer and dance teacher, is thrilled when she has the opportunity to be a Radio City Rockette. But there is a cost; she must sacrifice her family to follow her dream ... More
Book Review -  The Violin Conspiracy by Brian Slocumb

The Violin Conspiracy

By Brendan Slocumb
This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning, with the opening playing beautiful classical music. A few times throughout the book, there are additional snippets of music. It's one of the bonuses of listening to a book on audio ...More

 Book Review - Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Local Woman Missing

By Mary Kubica
Local Woman Missing is a gripping psychological thriller by Mary Kubica, filled with suspense, mystery, and secrets. I loved how this book grabbed from the first chapter and had me on the edge of my seat... More

Visit Our Blog

You May Also Like

PBR book reviews and Reading guides for book clubs
Visit out Etsy Shop
10 Books I Can't Stop Recommending