The Secret Life of the Savoy: and the D’Oyly Carte Family by Olivia Williams | Review

Esther Hannan-Moon

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The definition of luxury is the Savoy Hotel. Every whim, request, and secret are accounted for inside the walls of the Savoy Hotel. This book exposes the life of the D’Oyly family from the start to the end. The reader is gifted with an exclusive experience of seeing behind the curtain of the magic that was piled into the foundations holding the hotel up. As always, needs are met with an abundance of information, characters, and juicy gossip.

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The Secret Life of the Savoy isn’t your average rinse and repeat history lecture about the grand hotel, instead, Williams favours the story of its creators, choosing details for the explicit purpose of surprising and intriguing the reader. There are connections that most of us have no idea were even there. The best example is the turbulent relationship/partnership between Gilbert and Sullivan and the founder of the Savoy Theatre and Hotel, impresario Richard Carte D’Oyly.

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This book is a true deep dive into the tremendous lives of the D’Oyly family. At times the writing lacks a certain lightness, offering facts and connects, but sometimes moving on at a pace that doesn’t allow the reader to form a connection with any of history’s characters such as Gilbert and Sullivan. However, if you don’t mind that and the heavy load of information, this book is certainly a nice one to sit back with and soak your mind with knowledge and luxury. I recommend a nice glass of wine to accompany the sitting with.