Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

Fiona Davis has once again given us a fast paced, interesting historical novel. The book takes place at the iconic NY Public Library on Fifth Ave. it takes us back to 1913 when a number of book thefts took place.  It gives us a look at strong willed women during that time period that were looking to change the way women were viewed. Laura Lyons, who lived at the library with her family, was among these women. 

Fast forward 80 years to 1993 and we are now following Laura’s granddaughter Sadie who’s life is also intwined with the library. The mystery of stolen books is prevalent in both time periods and is joined together in the end. I enjoyed reading this one of Fiona Davis’ books as well as her previous ones and highly recommend it. 

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this pre-release.
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Another great title by Fiona Davis. I was lured to this book by the setting of the NYPL  but she won me over with a really interesting story that offered a bit of a history lesson as well. Reading her books is like being plopped down in the middle of a time and situation in history. I love when I can read a good story and learn a bit at the same time. This will be a pleasure to recommend at the library.
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Having already read the last few titles from Fiona Davis, I was definitely looking forward to reading this new one, especially when I learned that it's set in the NY Public Library, a beautiful building which I've visited twice in the past few years. I'm fortunate to live a few hours from the NYC by train and it was a huge thrill to enter the hallowed halls of NYPL a few years and see it in action.

This story is so intriguing and I always appreciate the contrast between more current times, this time it's 1993, versus 1913, This title definitely qualifies as historical fiction, which is by far one of my favorite genres. This book keeps me turning the 'pages' of my Kindle to keep reading this digital review copy at work during breaks and lunch. So many great twists and turns, so I don't want to say too much about the plot but the briefest description is mysterious library thefts that occur 80 years apart involving family members who have lived or work in the library. This is a great escape for these trying times!
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Fiona Davis has done it again.  Weaving together the past and the present with an intriguing mystery that’s  part social commentary of the books historical time frame.  As always the star of her book is a true landmark building in New York City.  This time it is the beloved main branch of the New York City Library..  as an ex- NewYorker, the history and inner workings of this magnificent building was fascinating.  

I will highly recommend this book to my book loving friends.
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I received an early copy of this book from NetGalley & am so happy I did! This is another fabulous book from Fiona Davis. I enjoy reading books based on historical facts and this book did not disappoint! A truly great read.
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Fascinating historical fiction that centers on the New York Public Library and strong, intelligent women from two different generations. I look forward to recommending this title. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of women circa the early 1900's. Also liked the 1990s mystery that revolves around missing valuable artifacts at the Library.
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The New York Public library, books, a mystery involving books, and two intertwined storylines - I think many readers will really enjoy this book. I liked it, but would have preferred a little more depth to the characters,  I preferred the 1913 characters and storyline to the modern one. The description of living and working in the NYPL was very vivid and fun to imagine. I would have liked even more of that! Again, fans of historical fiction, rare books, and NYC settings will enjoy this one.
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue is the latest in a category of 20th century historical fiction.  The story focuses on two women whose lives were influenced by the NY Public Library, one in 1913 and the other in 1993.  Their stories are told in separate alternating chapters.  It is not until the last third of the book that their stories are intertwined, and involve solving a mystery.  Like other recent books involving women's lives in the 1900's, there is an emphasis on difficulties encountered by some women in their lifestyle and professional choices.   While I did not find the writing to be sophisticated and polished, it was an easy read that kept my interest to the end.  I imagine readers familiar with the NYPL will have a special interest in reading this novel. I wish there had been an illustration of the library building floorplans for the rest of us to better understand its involvement in the plot.
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I always look forward to Fiona Davis's next book as she writes what amounts to love letters to historic New York City buildings.  Lions of Fifth Ave is especially near and dear to my librarian's heart as it focuses on the 5th Ave branch of the NYC Library, and the fact that it housed its superintendent and his family when the library first opened. I had no idea such an apartment once existed and I love the thought of being able to live in such a grand building.  Davis weaves historical fact into fictional mystery and family drama and left me wanting to take another trip to this public treasure as soon as possible.
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Fiona Davis’s latest historical fiction takes us into the world on the New York Public Library with two generation of bright, strong willed women.  The history of the library is wrapped in a mystery of book thefts.   Secrets are revealed in this page turner as you are drawn into the library world through the characters.  A combination of family saga, mystery, history, and love story all beautifully written and woven together in a beautiful package.
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Another great one by Fiona Davis! This is an author that I always look forward to new releases. I was thrilled to be able to read an advanced copy via Netgalley and Penguin Random House. All book lovers will really enjoy the location of this one in the New York City Library with its own apartment! The story of the stolen books both in the early 1900s and again in 1993 was very interesting and had me quickly turning pages to try to put it together. A surprise ending wraps it all up nicely! I also look forward to the audio of this when it releases.
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis intrigued me because the setting was the New York Public Library, that iconic building with the lion statues at one time named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox. The fictional story is about the superintendent, Jack Lyons, and his family who lived in the seven-room apartment contained within the library (the apartment was a residence for the library superintendent when it was built in 1911) and book thefts that occurred during the time they lived there.

Intertwined with the historical plot line is a story set in 1993 in which Sadie Donovan, a library curator, is working diligently on an exhibit of the Berg Collection, a real segment of the NYPL, while being thwarted by a book thief. The two plots come together in a creative way, solving both mysteries about the book thefts.

[Rant: While I have enjoyed a couple other of her books about historical buildings, I was turned off when a lesbian subplot developed. There was no clue about this in any summary I read, and I do not believe the plot hinged on this aspect in any way. I often wonder if this is the book publishing industry’s agenda to incorporate as many homosexual aspects into fiction as possible. I, for one, am weary of it. Rant over]

Fiona Davis is a Canadian-born author who has developed a specialty in writing historical fiction set in famous buildings in New York City. She began her career in NYC as an actress. Upon earning a master’s at Columbia Journalism school, her writing career has embraced both journalism and fiction.

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting May 29, 2020.

I would like to thank Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.
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I'm not quite sure what this book was going to be about when I received from PenguinRandomHouse and Netgalley, but I was hooked from the first page. As a librarian, and a former New Yorker (although I don't think any can ever be a "former New Yorker") I had always been fascinated with that beautiful building that ruled over its kingdom on Fifth Avenue &42nd Street.The majestic building is the perfect place for mystery, murder and adventure and I enjoyed every minute of it.

#TheLionsOfFifthAvenued #NetGalley
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Have you ever wonder what goes on in the Library after dark? I love this book especially because it had the New York Public Library as the scene for the greatest caper.
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Fiona Davis never fails to weave an engaging tale, and she doesn't disappoint in this book. Her female characters are always strong, independent women, ahead of their time. Set in the New York City library in 1913, and 1993, a family's saga plays out through three generations. In 1913, Laura lives in the library with her children, and husband, who is the superintendent of the library. In 1993, her granddaughter, Sadie, is the curator of the Berg Collection. The one thread between the three generations is the mystery of the missing first edition books. I would highly recommend this book for the historical aspect, as well as the compelling characters Davis creates.
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Set in the NYPL during two time periods,  In 1913 Laura Lyons is living in an apartment in the library with her husband and two children when rare books go missing and suspicion falls on her husband. In 1993 Laura’s granddaughter is working at the same library as a curator when valuable items are somehow stolen and suspicion falls on her . Is it possible these two thefts are somehow related?
Loved reading about the history of the NYPL and what life was like for women in 1913 NY.  And the two difference romances of Laura and Sadie  the mystery of the book thefts kept me turning the pages late at night.
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This book was a pure gem.  I visited the NYPL last year, and wish I knew about the apartment then.  The characters were likeable, the setting was perfect and the description was spot on.  It's an enjoyable read, lot's of history in it.  Loved it!
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I am usually hesitant about books that flip between two time periods; I usually find one very intriguing and the other dull. The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis, however, created two equally compelling narratives about women bound to the New York Public Library in different ways. Running through both narratives was the question of women in the workplace and how much things changed - or did not change - in the twentieth century.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free digital advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. I wavered between 4 and 5 stars for this review. I really enjoyed the book and felt that both of the main characters were interesting. I wouldn't say I "liked" them, but they both grew across the course of the book. The book alternates between points of view of Laura Lyons (wife of the superintendent of the main public library in New York) in the early 1900s and her grand-daughter Sadie Donovan (early 1990s). I originally picked the book because much of the action takes place in the public library - Laura and her family live in the superintendent's apartment inside the library. Note that superintendents and their families actually did live inside many of the Carnegie libraries in New York. I kept reading because I enjoyed the mystery of the stolen books and how the stories intertwined. So why I am not giving this book 5 stars? I'm not sure, to be honest. It seems to lack that 5-star quality. I'm calling it 4.5. Either way, it's a good read!
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Especially appealing to library lovers, this book will make an excellent system-wide book club pick. There is plenty to discuss, an engaging plot, and enough interesting history to keep a whole group happy. I can see purchasing multiple copies at release for circulation.
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