Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

I had the good fortune to visit the NYPL and take the official library tour not too long ago.  While reading the book, I was reminded of the marble interior , the reading room and rare books room.  I did not know about the apartment that is located within the library’s walls.  The parallel storylines were interesting and kept my attention.  I enjoyed the characters and the setting.  I will recommend this title to library patrons who have enjoyed books by Julia Kelly, Martha Kelly and Marie Benedict.
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I had high Hope's for this title. It was enjoyable enough and I did like the interplay between generations but the mystery part of the book, (the theft of certain volumes) was not as fulfilling, in my opinion. 
Thanks to the publisher for allowing me to have access to this ARC.
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Loved this one! Fiona Davis always has the most unique historical fiction stories and this one is no different! Any reader will love the concept of this one - living in the NY Public Library?! How neat! I love how it was a mix of historical fiction & mystery. It truly kept me guessing until the very end.  I really enjoyed the dual timelines and the weaving of the two stories. Davis's writing style is beautiful & I'm always sad when her books end! Highly recommend The Lions of Fifth Avenue.
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Another fabulous historical fiction by Fiona Davis. Set in NYC like her other novels, this one is a rich story that anyone who loves historical fiction will want to read.  Every time I read one of her books I want to revisit New York and specifically see the sites she writes about in her stories- this time the setting is the public library.  What a fabulous place to explore!  Well written and one of the best books I've read all year, can't wait to share with our customers!
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This historical fiction mystery follows the stories of Laura Lyons and Sadie Donavan as they try to uncover who is behind the thefts of rare stolen books at the New York Public Library. The story alternates between characters in 1913 and 1993 and highlights the strength and challenges of women in both eras.

I really enjoyed this book and the author's writing style. I also LOVED reading about the New York Public Library. I had no idea that superintendents used to live in library apartments.

Add this one to your summer reading list!
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Fiona Davis has another best seller with The Lions of Fifth Avenue. Continuing her tradition of creating stories that revolve around New York City landmark buildings, Ms. Davis takes the reader into the showcase branch of the New York Public Library, “the big library with the lions.” In parts a family saga, a feminist awakening, and a love letter to books, The Lions of Fifth Avenue is historical fiction at its best.
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I really enjoyed this book. The book alternated between Laura’s story from 1914 and Sadie’s story ( her granddaughter) in 1993. Laura and her family live in an apartment in the new New York Public Library in 1913/1914. Several  vintage edition books are stolen from the library and never recovered. It was interesting also to see Laura become a journalist and her involvement in the feminist movement at the time. Her granddaughter, Sadie, is working with the Berg collection at the same library in 1993. She is trying to solve the past mystery of the missing book involving her family when books start going missing related to the collection she is studying. I love Fiona Davis’ books and always enjoy learning about the historical buildings in New York City and the characters involved. I love how she alternates past and present characters linking them together with a element of mystery. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to
read and review an advanced copy of this book.
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Loved this book. A good balance between past and present. Likeable characters, well-paced and good mystery.
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Each time. I pick up a Fiona Davis book I am instantly back in New York living the life of the main character. This book took me to one of my favorite places and on quite an exciting journey. This history of the library and the rare books collection led me to delve deeper. That is what her books do for me. They take me away and lead me deeper into history. Well written excellent story.
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As a book nerd and a Fiona Davis fan, I was very excited for a book set around the New York Public Library. The book is split between 1913 and 1993 with narratives from Laura Lyons, who lives in the library with her family, and Sadie Donovan, who works there. As is always the case with Fiona Davis, the historical context is incredibly rich and detailed. Davis explores the role of the Heterodoxy Club in Greenwich Village in 1913 -- a group of women discussing radical (at the time) feminism, and suffrage. I had no prior knowledge of this wonderful nugget of history and it was fascinating to experience it through Laura. Her character’s reactions to attending group meetings were believable and made for a strong understanding of her character, especially as she attends journalism school and strives to be more than just a wife and a mother.

Sadie’s narrative focuses on a series of thefts occurring at the library. Although she never met her, Sadie discovers that she is a descendant of Laura Lyons and that there were rare book thefts that also occurred while Laura lived in the library. She becomes uncomfortable that this may put a target on her back as being involved in the current thefts. Her portion of the story felt less rich to me than Laura’s, probably because I didn’t learn as much historical context.

As much as I enjoyed the majority of this story, I struggled with the ending. Sadie’s sudden quest to find someone who knew Laura and discuss her life with them seemed jarring and unbelievable and the ultimate conclusion of the thefts fell a little flat. That being said, I really loved learning about New York City in 1913, and seeing Laura struggle with her ambitions, her sexuality, and the sexism that surrounded her.

Links to be added when review is posted!
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I thoroughly enjoyed the latest novel by Fiona Davis, The Lions of Fifth Avenue.  True to her format, Davis sets her novel in New York City, focusing on one of the city’s landmarks.  This time it is the iconic New York City Public Library on 5th Avenue.  Also, true to her format, the story is set in two different time periods (1913 and 1993).  The reader alternates between the two story lines which are skillfully interwoven.  The two main characters are Laura Lyons, the wife of the superintendent of the New York City Public Library building, and Sadie Donovan, a librarian/curator at the library.  The stories of the two women are linked through a familial tie as well as the fact that rare books were disappearing from the library during both time periods.  Yes, this is a historical fiction novel with a mystery!  

Laura is a mother of two children, Harry and Pearl, and the family lives in the library.  In the early days, the superintendents of the library building lived in an apartment inside the library!!  She loves being a wife and mother, but she wants to do more with her life, as well as contribute to the family’s meager finances.  Laura applies and is accepted into the Columbia School of Journalism.   Much to Laura’s chagrin, the women students are given “fluff” stories to cover.  While covering one of her “fluff” stories, Laura meets a woman who introduces Laura to the bohemian lifestyle of Greenwich Village and a variety of issues such as women’s suffrage, the living conditions of the impoverished, and the real struggles of women of that time.  

In 1993, Sadie Donovan is a middle-aged woman, who after a failed marriage, lacks self confidence and is a bit socially awkward.  She immerses herself in her work as a curator of the library’s Berg Collection and is excited about putting together their upcoming exhibit.  However, her job is at stake as rare manuscripts are going missing, just as they were during Laura’s time in the library.  

This well-researched historical novel is a page-turner, holding my interest to the very end.  I loved both storylines and how they came together.  Davis incorporates social issues that are still important today:  women’s rights, LGBTQ, and poverty.  I recommend that book clubs consider reading this book for there are many points for discussion.  Plus it is an enjoyable read!!

Fiona Davis has become one of my favorite authors.  I recommend all of her books and look forward to many more books from her in the future!

Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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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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