Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

The book opens on, the aptly named, Laura Lyons, wife of the live-in superintendent of the newly built main branch of the New York Public Library. She aspires to be a journalist, but struggles with the expectations of family life. Mrs. Lyons stumbles into a group of women's right activists, which draws her attention away from her duties at home. Her family starts to crumble in her absence and valuable books start to disappear from library collection. Almost a century later, Sadie Donovan is unexpectedly thrust into the job of her dreams as curator of the rare book collection at the New York Public Library. She is determined to prove her worth when disaster hits; a one-of-a-kind, priceless item is found missing! Are the thefts related? Will this crime deprive Sadie of her dream job... and her freedom?
Fiona Davis has proven herself to be a great spinner of Historical Fiction yarns and The Lions of Fifth Avenue only solidifies my statement. The author keeps you wondering as to the identity of the guilty party right up until the end. While I need no convincing to read a book about books, The Lions of Fifth Avenue left me wanting more stories set in the storied New York Public Library. Read it, trust me.
#TheLionsofFifthAvenue #NetGalley
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Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra

The Lions of Fifth Avenue is the second book I have read by author Fiona Davis. All I have to say is – VERY engaging story. I am relatively new to reading historical fiction, in addition to dual timelines and to say I was a bit apprehensive would have been an understatement. Would I keep the characters and separate storylines straight? Once I wrote out a family tree to keep everyone straight – I was good to go ☺

The story begins in 1913 with Laura Lyons having big news – she had been accepted to Columbia Journalism School…but how to afford this both financially and from the perspective of running her household? A way is found and we are led on the journey of Laura in school as one of just a very few women in the journalism program. I found the sexism very prevalent and the way Laura handled it quite interesting given the era. Laura also had to endure many hardships once her and her family’s ability to live at the library ended. Without giving anything away – I found her new living arrangements much more in character with the woman she was becoming, as tough as it was. The interaction from the very beginning, and right to the very end of the book, with Dr. Potter (and the Heterodoxy Club) was another powerful storyline. 

When we fast forward to 1993, we are following the life of Sadie Donovan – the granddaughter of Laura Lyons as she becomes the curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. However, Sadie wants to keep her familial relationship with Laura Lyons quiet. There are thefts happening at the library and everyone is a suspect, Sadie included. To solve the mystery of the thefts, Sadie must dig deep into family history and learn of past events, trials and tribulations that she may not have wanted to learn about. How are they connected to her grandmother Laura? 

The storytelling was engaging – both story lines (though if truth be told – I found Laura’s storyline just a tad more captivating). I loved that the storylines were linked by books (☺) and a library – the New York Public Library no less. I found it interesting that the superintendent (Jack and his family) were able to actually live in the library. How cool would that be, especially given the cool architecture of this particular library? One of the reasons I found the earlier timeline more captivating was that many topics were touched upon… women’s rights and how they dealt with the oppression – working on changing it one step at a time through her voice as a reporter. Very inspiring.

I found the transitions between periods easy but in all honesty I could not wait for the next chapter dealing with Laura and her life. 

Once I was done with this book – I went so far as to research the library. This is what I also find engaging about historical fiction books – they may lead me to learn factual information about an era gone by or events that have happened – to determine how close these works of fiction correspond to fact.

If you like historical fiction, then I suggest you pick up this book, set aside time to read and enjoy – as I am sure you will. Thank you to Fiona Davis for writing such an engaging, entertaining and enjoyable book. I most certainly will be seeking out more titles by this author.
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Another great novel f rom Fiona Davis - she never seems to disappoint.  I find when I finish her novels I enjoy doing the research behind the historical aspect.
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Loved this book! I loved learning about the history of the NYPL and reading about the adventures taking place in the library itself. I thought this was a wonderfully executed historical fiction novel intertwining some interesting historical facts around a story that kept readers interested through the very last page.
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I read this one a while back and forgot to write a review. 

The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a historical fiction, set in dual timelines about the New York City Library. Many rare books have gone missing, and the mystery of who is stealing them continues to remain unsolved.

With both the 1913 and 1993 timelines, you are introduced to a set of characters. In 1913, Laura Lyon lives in an apartment inside the library, where her husband is the Superintendent. She craves something more from her role as wife and mother, and enrolls in a journalism program. She befriends a group of successful women and is soon a victim of some very tragic events.

In 1993, Sadie Donovan is responsible for an exhibit at the library called the Berg Collection, but when news of several rare books goes missing, she hires a private investigator to help find who’s responsible.  The investigation begins to focus on Sadie, and secrets within her family history are discovered. 

The plot twist at the end was a bit expected but quite exciting. I loved imagining Laura’s life living in a library and also Sadie’s career as a curator 80 years later. There were some very strong, successful and career-focused women to admire, and the history of the library was worth a book in itself. I loved the historical aspect, and how well the author turned this into a mystery. I felt the book was a bit long, however it was very well-written snd I can see why this was a GMA book club pick.

Thank you to #netgalley and @duttonbooks for my advanced e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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Loved this historical fiction story that takes place within the walls of New York public library. It has two wonderful, eventual connecting, stories that take place in 1993 and 1913.  It tackles issues of Women’s Rights and a very different world in 1913 and connects the theft of books happening in both story lines.  My love for NYC made this all the more enjoyable.  Highly recommend this one!
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Living inside one of New York City's most grand buildings with her family, Laura Lyons secretly dreams of a future that she may never have. While her husband is in charge of thousands of books inside the New York Public Library, Laura wants nothing more than to put her own words on paper but in 1913 this is no easy feat for a woman. A spot at the Columbia Journalism school is hers for the taking if she can somehow manage the fees, juggle her household responsibilities as well as the care of her two young children. Things seem to be working in Laura's favor but then valuable, rare books start disappearing from secure areas of the library throwing her family under a veil of suspicion. Eighty years later, Sadie Donovan is helping to curate an exhibit at the library showcasing some of the best pieces from their collection. After going through a painful divorce Sadie's main happiness lies with this job and the beautiful artifacts left in her charge, a role she takes great pride in, being one of only a few people with access to such rare works. As the opening of the exhibit draws near books start to vanish from the collection and an investigator is brought in to help. When the clues start to pile up, Sadie uncovers some hidden truths from her family's past dating back decades to an unsolved mystery that had tragic consequences for the library. "The Lions of Fifth Avenue" is another hit for Fiona Davis. Lovers of the HF genre will find this heartbreaking page-turner hard to put down. Highly recommend adding this to your TBR list and checking out Davis' other titles as well. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Publishing for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a dual timeline story beginning with Laura Lyons and her family in 1913 and ending with Sadie Donovan in 1993. 

In 1913, the Lyons family lives in an apartment in the New York Public Library, where Jack works as the superintendent. Laura loves her husband and being a mother to Pearl and Harry, yet craves more. She applies to the journalism program at Columbia and quickly enjoys being immersed in a world beyond her home. She attends meetings of the Heterodoxy Club, a group of women discussing radical, untraditional ideas. While Laura is pursuing this new path, valuable books begin to go missing from the library, forcing her to evaluate her priorities. 

In 1993, Sadie works at the New York Public Library. She remains curious about her grandmother, Laura Lyons, and her legacy as a writer, but there’s little left behind for Sadie to learn from. While Sadie is working on an upcoming exhibit, rare books and manuscripts are stolen, making her question everything. 

I loved the library setting in this book! While I liked both timelines, I preferred Laura’s a little more. The library felt so grand in the early 1900s. It was interesting to see how the stories tied together and to discover the mystery surrounding the disappearing books. 

The Lions of Fifth Avenue was my first Fiona Davis book and I look forward to reading more of her historical fiction.
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Overall a pick for me. I've always enjoyed Fiona Davis' books because she goes into the history of each building she writes about. And there's always a mystery to boot. But I do wish the author would “show“ more than “tell“ in her books. Her writing is a bit stiff. Maybe if this was written in first person it would be better.
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This was so good, I couldn't stop reading it! I loved the alternating timelines, both were equally interesting, yet separate enough to not be confusing. I loved the setting, who wouldn't want to live in the NY Public library/work there.
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I picked this up because who wouldn’t want to live in the New York Public Library. I normally read fantasy, so this was a bit of a genre palate cleanser for me because nothing over in fantasy was working for me. In 1914, Laura and her husband live in the apartment in the New York Public Library. Laura is looking for her place in the world and develops an interest in women’s rights. And then books go missing. There are two different timelines going on, so we also see her granddaughter, who is a curator at the museum. Books go missing while she’s working at the library as well. Overall this was an engaging book. I didn’t find the time switches as jarring as I usually do, but most people will probably have a preference for spending more time in one timeline over the other.  Historical fiction is not normally my thing, but I enjoyed this one!
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This was a historical novel with a great setting – the NYPL. My favorite!! This one really drew me in. Passageways and secrets swirled in both storylines of this one.
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A fine example of Fiona Davis's books, interweaving (as Davis does) two tales 1913 and 1993. The mystery of stolen books in the NYPL in 1993 will keep you turning pages to find out whodunnit, meanwhile the tale of a woman crossing into "a man's world" (journalism) in 1913 will give your book group plenty to talk about re feminism and history.
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I was hooked by the plot line, which included a family who lived in a library, book thefts, feminism, a budding journalist and mystery. I enjoyed Laura Lyons' story more than her granddaughter's. The connection between the two stories seemed forced, in my opinion. 

Thanks Netgalley for the advanced reading copy.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book which bridged genres, The focus is on family relationships but with a mystery to solve. I would highly recommend this book and presumably by this author.
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When you love books, reading a book about the love of books, well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Written in a dual narrative, beginning in the early 1900s in New York City, a young family has the distinct pleasure of residing in a tucked away apartment in the New York Public Library. The one and only. He, as the superintendent with a promising literary career ahead of him. She, with grand plans to attend the Columbia School of Journalism in its debut year, while holding down the fort tending to their children. Eyes wide open and arms ready to embrace the world that lies ahead. This is Fiona Davis’s novel THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE.
Fast forward to the 1990s, an accomplished young woman is pursuing her dream career as a curator at the very library where her grandparents used to reside. She lives and breathes rare books. However, her life outside of these hallowed halls is fraught with turmoil, just as her grandmother experienced all those years ago.
Overseeing an important collection or telling a story comes with significant responsibility, as both women come to find out. As well as a price.
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A light piece of historical fiction for library lovers with intersecting stories that revolve around the theft of books at the New York Public Library in 1913 and again in 1993.
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This book features two interconnected stories of strong women from two generations of the Lyon family who once lived in the New York Public Library. Laura Lyons lives in the NYPL in 1914 and wants to help her family financially by pursuing a career in Journalism. 1990's Sadie works at the NYPL and is accused of a crime just as she receives a promotion. As she tries to clear her name she also discovers some surprising family secrets.
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Fiona Davis has such incredible skill in creating such rich detail for her readers. You were transported to the library on 5th Avenue with her words and drawn more so into the story of this family and the mysteries that lie within their dynamics. Even though I greatly enjoyed this book I did feel at times that the plot was rushed but it did not take away from my overall experience.
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I loved this novel about a family living in the Library on 5th avenue. It was atmospheric, detailed, vivid and drew me in from the first page.
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