Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

A historical novel set in 2 different time periods, this book captivates from the very first chapter. The setting of the famous New York City library adds another interesting element.  A must read for mystery and history lovers.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Anyone who has a love of books will enjoy this book set in the New York Public Library. Fiona Davis grabs the readers attention from the start, which makes a great read to forget about the pandemic.  I loved how the author wove the story between 1913 and 1993 where Sadie learns more about her family history ties to the New York Public Library, while having her own career at the library as well.  I loved how there are parallels to Sadie and her grandmother’s life.  Such a wonderful story that is full of the unexpected!
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This book appeals to bibliophiles.  While it was not personally my cup of tea, I see how it would be very appealing to many readers.
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This book is told between two alternating time lines, around 1913 and 1993, and both take place around the New York Public Library. 

There are many similarities between the two time periods, one of which is rare books are going missing from the library and no one can figure out how. The frame of the book with the alternating time lines is the style of the author. It works well, and in this book the pacing is well done. Each time line leaves at a moment when you really want to know what happens next. There are some unexpected moments and, of course, some coincidences.  I enjoyed this book and found it a good diversion, with a wonderful backdrop of a story.

Really enjoyed this book.
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Fiona Davis's latest piece of historical fiction is a solid read. It alternates between Laura Lyons, a budding journalist in 1913 NYC and her granddaughter, Sadie, a librarian in 1993 NYC.  There are stolen books in both time periods, as Sadie struggles to find the link between the books, her grandmother's life, and her own. 

I'm a big fan of Fiona Davis and was excited to read this book. Both time periods of the book are well written and the story moves back and forth between the two seamlessly, making me want to keep reading and reading. I had a few moments where I really had to suspend belief about some of Laura's actions in 1913. In some places there wasn't enough backstory for me to truly believe in the character's motivation.  Similarly, in the 1993 periods, I wished there was a stronger connection with who the thief turned out to be. Ultimately it was a satisfying ending though. 

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
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This book is set in the New York City Public Library, in both 1913 and 1993.  The story moves back and forth between the two eras, telling parallel stories that involve members of the same family.  In 1913 Laura Lyons and her family live in the library where her husband is the supervisor.  Laura is looking for some personal satisfaction outside of motherhood so she attends journalism school, which distracts her when rare library books are stolen.  In 1993, Laura's granddaughter Sadie works in the library, organizing an exhibit that includes some of Laura's things, when again rare books are stolen. The story moves back and forth between the two plot lines, with the author skillfully weaving the threads together, clearly and succinctly.  I really enjoyed reading about the famous NYC Library.  The book reminded me of the YA series "The Story Collector," which also takes place in the NYC library. I encourage library lovers to read this excellent historical novel.  Thanks to NetGalley and Dutton for providing an ARC.
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In 1913, Laura Lyons lives in the famed New York Public Library building where her husband is superintendent. Yet she struggles with her traditional role as a housewife and begins a degree in journalism. In 1993, Sadie, Laura's granddaughter, becomes the curator of one of the library's collection. When rare books begin to disappear, Sadie finds that history is repeating itself.

I have mixed feelings about Davis's latest historical fiction novel. I enjoyed the connection between the two stories. The modern piece, while less-developed than the historical narrative (a common problem to modern/historical narratives that irks me), was interesting enough to push the story forward. Laura's narrative was thoughtfully complex in spots and annoyingly simple in others, touching on motherhood, feminism, and family dynamics.
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The story, told in chapters alternating between 1913 and 1993, is set in the New York Public Library.  1913, Laura Lyons lives in an apartment at the Library, with her children and husband Jack, who is the superintendent of the library. Jack is trying to write a book in addition to his duties at the library, and he devotes all his spare time to writing his book. Laura is accepted into the journalism program at Columbia. Because of some of the assignments she is given, she meets a large variety of people she would never have met otherwise. She becomes part of a feminist group known as Heterodoxy, which was quite radical for the time.

In 1993, Sadie Donovan works at the Library; she is the granddaughter of Laura Lyons, a fact that she has not disclosed to her employer. Besides being related, there is a connection between Laura and Sadie as it relates to missing rare books.  It is this link around which the story revolves.
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Nicely written book! 
Fiona Davis is a true talent.
This book not only covers NYPLibrary but also it's tenants and their stories.
It was a clever idea to write a book like that the way she did with her magical plot.
I really enjoyed this one!
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I really do enjoy these tales by Fiona Davis. The combination of architectural History, New York City history, and women's history is an entertaining one and in the hands of a talented writer like Davis, makes for an engaging and informative read. This time the subject is one near and dear to my heart, the New York Public Library, and the combination of historical information about the building and its origins as well as the family drama related through Laura Lyons and her granddaughter was delightful. The story was engaging and informative - a one-two knockout punch that I thoroughly enjoyed. It
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I love historical fiction that weaves facts with the story - you learn so many new things! Davis creates a story about a family living in the apartments within the New York Public Library (they exist today, but in woeful condition). Her characters are intriguing and progressive for the time period she writes about. I'm looking forward to her next book!
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This was a completely engrossing historical fiction mystery about two related women 80 years apart dealing with book thefts at the iconic main branch of the New York Public Library. I liked Laura's journey in the 1913 timeline more than I liked Sadie's in 1993 but both women were interesting characters and the connections and clues between their mysteries had me unable to put the book down. Some of the secondary characters don't quite get what I feel is their due in terms of development on the page (I would read a novella about Pearl alone, for example!) but I still enjoyed it very much.
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Fiona Davis doesn't disappoint with her fifth historical fiction novel.  It's a great story that makes the reader ask questions, this time about the New York Public Library, hence the title.  Was there really an apartment inside the library where a family lived? Is there really a book called the 'Tamerlane'? I love the way the author created a fictional family and a mystery that begins in 1913 and is solved in the 1990s.  Fans of New York City history and historical fiction should put this one on their list! Thank you #netgalley and #Penguingroupdutton #thelionsoffifthavenue
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Fiona Davis has quickly become one of my favorite historical fiction writers, and this effort added to the love with the setting in the New York Public Library.  

The story opens in 1913 as Laura Lyons' husband landed a position as the superintendent of the Library, and with the job came residency in one of the hidden apartments in the building.  (I mean - who wouldn't love living in a large public library?!).  As Laura and her family adjust to living in city, she stretches her wings and begins attending journalism school while her husband finishes his novel around attending to library duties.  As Laura and Jack's personal dreams and goals drive them apart, further stress is added as rare and valuable books begin to go missing from the Library. 

Davis' signature format is a storyline in the past, and a convergent storyline in a more recent time period.  In this story, it is Sadie's story in 1993.  Sadie is the granddaughter of Laura Lyons and works at the same library where her grandmother lived.  As Sadie works on the curation of a highly advertised exhibit of rare books and personal effects of the authors, books begin to go missing again.  Sadie finds herself caught up in the investigation and is shocked to realize how closely tied the thefts are to the thefts that happened when her family lived in the library.  

As with Davis' other books, I not only became immediately engrossed in the storylines, but also found myself researching the hidden apartments in the New York Library. I love how thoroughly Davis researches these historical New York buildings and seamlessly integrates them into a vibrant story.  I highly recommend this book and all other Fiona Davis books, especially if you love historical fiction!
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Laura Lyons, wife of the superintendent of the New York Public Library, is not content with her role as wife and mother of two children. She longs to attend Columbia Journalism School, get a job as a reporter and help support her family. However the roles and expectations for a woman in 1913 are very rigid and achieving her dreams may break Laura. Eighty years later, Laura's granddaughter Sadie Donovan, is an assistant curator at the NYPL, who comes under suspicion when valuable books begin to go missing from the library's famous Berg collection. I was very excited to hear that Fiona Davis was writing about one of my favorite places in the world the New York Public Library and she did not disappoint me. As Sadie walked down the stately marble hallways or when Laura gazed up at the magnificent ceiling in the Rose Reading Room, I felt I was right beside them. Not only did I learn more about the library but also about the oppressive treatment of women and the poor in the early 1900's. In the genre of historical fiction, Fiona Davis is one of the best authors I've read. I not only recommend this book but also a visit to what I consider a slice of heaven on Earth, the New York Public Library.
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I really enjoyed The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. I have read several other novels by the author and this one is probably my favorite. I thought the setting of the New York Public Library was unique. The novel follows two main characters, Laura in 1913-14, and Sadie, her granddaughter, in 1993, as they try to determine who has been stealing valuable books from the library and why. The way the two stories were woven together was well down.
Most interesting to me was Laura's storyline and how her character evolved during the year she studied journalism at Columbia University. Davis did a good job of including a variety of social issues that are still relevant today. I recommend picking up this book when it is released in August.
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The Lions of Fifth avenue has really in-depth character and world building. How it goes from generation to generation is quite interesting ( It time hops ) Between each family such as 1914-1918 to 1993. How the mother and daughter bonding and mother and son bonding to women's rights in all kinds of ways may it be college or other fields. 
  Is quite interesting or the drab idea that women should stay at home and be the perfect mother. Makes me want to laugh everytime I read time period things like that. Also it speaks alot about memories may they be happy or sad wanting to live life to the fullest and family.
I thank Netgalley for the Arc in exchange for an honest review.
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a lovely weekend read, an historical mystery novel set in and around the New York Public Library in intersecting stories, one from the early 20th century, one from 1993. Ms. Davis has written a strong feminist story and, in doing so, peppered the narrative with portrayals of important early feminists, while taking us on the frustrating, confusing journey of Laura Lyons, a writer and mother who wants to use her voice to make a difference in the world. Davis draws on a little-known historical tidbit, that the Library's super lived inside the building in a secret seven-room apartment for three decades. She uses this intriguing entrance point to create a unique world inside the world of 1919 New York City. Although Lyons is not, and does not try to be, an epic in the vein of Helprin's Winter's Tale, there are echoes of that world throughout, and Lions of Fifth Avenue is an absorbing, enjoyable read that will satisfy a booklover in search of a good story who appreciates historical detail and ephemera. Simply put: I ate it up.
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When I saw that Fiona Davis had a new book coming out I didn't think I could get more excited. Then I saw that it was mostly set at the NYPL and I became hysterical with excitement. ⠀
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue follow Laura Lyons in 1913 and her granddaughter, Sadie in 1993. Dual timelines are not uncommon in books nowadays but in my opinion, Fiona Davis does it better than most. In 1913 Laura Lyons is married to the superintendent of the NYPL which means her family gets to live in the apartment INSIDE the NYPL. Book lovers can you imagine! Laura Lyons thinks she has it all but what happens when she decides she wants more? Decades later, Sadie, her granddaughter, works as curator at the NYPL. A series of book thefts in 1913 and now again in 1993 send both women investigating. Is there a connection? Both Laura and Sadie are strong willed women who you will root for the entire time.
 Fiona Davis has done it again with another interesting, well researched, fast paced historical fiction novel. As usual this book sent me on a quest of googling and learning and I love when a book does that. There really was an apartment inside the NYPL!  I highly recommend The Lions of Fifth Avenue.
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A stunning and moving read that has covers so many things I love: libraries, New York, ambition. Fiona Davis created a beautiful story that i recommend to all readers of historical fiction.
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