Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

Mystery in the New York City Public Library, is a setting anyone would love. Fiona Davis always gives you fascinating settings and remarkable stories and this one does not disappoint.. The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a story of two generations dealing with family issues and the theft of valuable books at the library and the strong willed women that must pick up the pieces. Memorable characters, fabulous setting and the attention to details make this a great book, that I enjoyed very much.
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Laura Lyons has a wonderful life. It is 1913 and she, her husband, and their two kids are living in the apartment in The New York Public Library because of her husbands job. Laura wants more though, she wants a career of her own. In 1993, Sadie is struggling know her Grandmother is none other than Laura Lyons. She finally has her dream job at the NYPL, but all the sudden things are going missing. When Sadie finds proof that things had gone missing during her Grandparents time at the library, she doesn’t understand how things add up.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical fiction novel because I have had trouble concentrating on them. This book however, pulled me in quickly and did not let go. I loved Laura and her drive to be something more. I thought she was such a strong female character, especially for the 1913’s! It also made me really want to live in the New York Library! How amazing would that be! I liked the detective work that Sadie was doing to try and catch the culprit, and how everything wove together in the end, especially with the dual timelines. Fiona Davis did a truly beautiful job writing this one!
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Fiona Davis does it again! The Lions of Fifth Avenue features all of the elements that make her novels so wonderful - the backstory of an iconic New York City building, dual timelines, strong female characters, a mystery and commentary on the social issues of the times - and combines them in my favorite of her books so far. 

The landmark the story revolves around this time is the New York Public Library. When it opens in 1913, the Lyons family lives in an apartment within the library where Jack Lyons is in charge of the building maintenance and its staff. Jack's wife Laura, like many Davis heroines, is a woman ahead of her time and when she is accepted into the Columbia School of Journalism, she's exposed to aspects of life in New York beyond her somewhat privileged bubble and realizes she wants to be more than just a wife and mother. 

Fast forward to 1993. Sadie Donovan works at the NYPL overseeing a collection of rare books and artifacts including a walking stick which belonged to Laura Lyons, who went on to become a renowned feminist writer and also happens to be Sadie's grandmother. Sadie doesn't know much about Laura or her own mother's connection to the library but when rare books start disappearing, she discovers that something similar occurred back in 1913 when the Lyons family lived there as well. Sadie knows she has to find out who's behind the thefts and her family's possible connection to them before she becomes the main suspect.

I lived in New York for 15 years and the buildings featured in Davis's books are usually ones I know well. I've never looked at Grand Central Station the same way after reading The Masterpiece and whenever I'm in Central Park, I look for the Dakota's distinctive shape on the skyline thanks to The Address. The NYPL has always been one of my favorite places and I cannot wait until I can go back to visit to see it through the lens of this book. Davis paints such a vivid picture of the library and how it worked in 1913 as well as some of the changes that were implemented over the years. From the names of the lions out front (originally Astor and Lenox after the library's founders but chanced to Patience and Fortitude by NYC Mayor Fiorello during the Depression) to the architectural choices and art in the spaces, the space comes alive even for readers who may never have seen it. I also loved all of the details about rare books and literary memorabilia and how important they are to properly preserve and make available to scholars. But most of all, I was drawn in by the characters - Laura and Sadie, of course, but also Laura's mother, a woman whose future wasn't her own and is determined to help her daughter find her happy ending; Amelia, a feminist doctor who sees things in Laura she can't see in herself; Nick, the private investigator brought in to find the book thief; and Valentina, Sadie's adorable niece. 

I read this book in a single day and didn't want it to end. I can't wait to see which legendary NYC spot Davis takes on in her next one! 

4.5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Dutton Books and the author for an advanced review ecopy of the book.
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Awesome 100 Year Time Capsule Mystery
This book is so much more than a mystery that goes from 1914 to 1993. It is also the story of the early days of feminism with women wanting to fulfill their own dreams. A great deal of knowledge about old books and their preservation is also shared. There are so many facets to this story and all of them are important. I truly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting Well done! I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so this was an easy win for me – I think it's a perfect summer read. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of feminist, a little romantic. I don't often love duel timeline situations, but I thought this one was done deftly and enjoyed both perspectives.
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I have been seriously craving some good historical fiction lately, and this one totally fit the bill. Not only was it a fascinating story split between two timelines - one in 1913 and the other in 1993 - but it was a quick, fun, and effortless summer read. I read the entire book in one sitting!!

I enjoyed both of the storylines in this book, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I loved Laura Lyons’s more. I had no idea that there would be LGBTQ+ representation in this book, let alone a bi protagonist - but what a wonderful surprise it was!

Laura is such an inspiring character with her ambition and open-mind. Throughout the story, her desire to challenge the status quo and have a career of her own is frequently at odds with her desire to be a devoted mother and wife - a conflict many modern women still struggle with today.

Sadie, her granddaughter and the protagonist in the 1993 storyline, is also a fabulous and endearing character. She, like Laura, has an infectious can-do spirit and I admired her passion for the library and her work as a preservationist and curator.

This book is perfect for library lovers - just the idea of being able to live and work in a beautiful library every day is so magical and I’m so jealous of Sadie's amazing job as a curator!

Overall, this book was such a fun and engaging read - I recommend it to lovers of libraries and fans of historical fiction. The Lions of Fifth Avenue has also been chosen as the Good Morning America Book Club pick for August, so would make for a great summer book club pick too!
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Fiona Davis writes such amazing historical fiction.  This novel is no exception!  The two time periods that the book focuses on are eighty years apart and she does justice to both.  I loved that the story featured the New York Public Library and a grandmother and granddaughter.   My grandmother and I have always been close thanks to our love of libraries and books, so this book touched me in a personal manner as well as being a great read!
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The interwoven stories of Laura Lyons and her granddaughter Sadie as they each deal with New York Public Library book thefts and other trials and tribulations within their families and careers.
This was an enjoyable read with a sprinkle of everything: history, romance, mystery - all in the context of two spunky, interesting women.
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Book Review:  The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a page-turning piece of historical fiction that centers around a fictional library superintendent’s wife and her family who live in the apartment within The New York Public Library in 1913.  That description alone should be intriguing enough to entice all those readers out there who have secretly dreamed of living in the library. But Fiona Davis did not rely on the setting alone - instead, she spun a tale of a book theft mystery that tied together three generations while, at the same time, exposed the character’s relationships, personalities and dreams.  I completely lost myself in this story and enjoyed every minute of the read, but also came away with a better appreciation for the value of those rare pieces of literature and literary history and the need to preserve them. I would recommend this book to Jeffrey Archer fans and anyone who simply loves libraries.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this ebook.  I was very excited to delve into the subject of the New York Public Library  as it holds a special place in my heart both as a tourist and a former library staffer (in Florida). I enjoyed the author’s exploration of the lesser known facets of the building and it’s history but I honestly wasn’t enamored with either of the main protagonists.
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Gosh, I loved this book so much I devoured it over a weekend. Fiona Davis does it again with her charming way of tying a beautiful landmark in New York as a central "character" as well as place for the story.

Set in the New York Public Library, the Lions of Fifth Avenue alternates between 1913/1914 and 1993 to tell the stories of two women connected by blood and the library. 

We meet Laura Lyons in 1913. Her husband is the superintendent of the library and they are ensconced in the apartment in the library along with their two young children. While her husband manages the library and works on his novel, Laura, like most women of her era, manages the family. To help her husband, she does a newsletter for the library and is encouraged by the board to attend Columbia’s journalism degree program. In that pursuit, she makes new, more liberal minded friends that threaten what she believes to be right for her life

We meet Sadie Donovan in 1993. A research librarian and the granddaughter of Laura, she is excited to be working in the same library her grandmother once lived in. She is part of planning a retrospective exhibit including some material about her grandmother.  Though connected by blood, their lives are also  connected by the unsolved mystery of books missing since Laura's time at the Library and new disappearances as Sadie prepares the exhibit.

Sadie is considered a suspect of the theft and along with a detective hired by the board is determined to figure it out.  When the past collides with the future, Sadie is able to uncover a deeply buried family secrets that ultimately sets her free – both literally and metaphorically.

Well researched with characters you can’t help but be intrigued by, The Lions of Fifth Avenue is on the “must read” list for this summer.
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Dual timelines both taking place in the New York Public Library with a mystery repeating itself and two women struggling to find their place in their world. When books start to go missing for both Laura, living at the library in 1913, and for Sadie, working at the library in 1993, the mystery behind the missing books and their connection to each other will change both their lives forever. 

I almost did not finish this book at 50% but I’m glad I stuck with it. I liked the mystery behind the stolen books the best and was glad when the book veered more in that direction toward the end. The setting of the New York Public Library was fantastic (every book lover’s dream) and loved how both storylines took place there. However there was something off for me with the pacing of the character development and some key plot points were a bit jarring and needed more build up in order to be believable. I would recommend this to anyone who has dreamt of living in a library and enjoys a little mystery sprinkled in their historical fiction.
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Another 5-star read from the inimitable Fiona Davis! The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a beautiful novel of historical fiction set in NYC and the New York Public Library, which thrills me. The research done for this novel allows you to immerse yourself into the story and be swept away.  Strong female characters are a staple of Davis' books and this book alternates timeline between the two MC's from 1913/1993 and it is fascinating.  Love, heartbreak, intrigue-.this book has it all. A go-to author for me and I anticipate every book with relish.  5 stars. 
Thank you to Dutton Books for my free copy.  All thoughts are my own. #DuttonBooks #DuttonBookstagrammer
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Compelling mystery, quick read. The historical plot was much more interesting and engaging than the modern day plot.
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Another amazing book by Fiona Davis.  I truly love books that are about people who love books.  People working in libraries, writers, anyone who is also obsessed with books, like I'm obsessed.  It's awesome.  The Lions of Fifth Avenue takes place during two timelines and we learn about two women who are dealing with a sort of mystery.


I'm always excited now when Davis publishes another book.  Even though this one just came out today, I'm already awaiting her next one.  Books about books and people who love them, are my ultimate jam.


5/5 Stars
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a historical fiction set in the New York Public Library. Told in 3rd person with dual timelines, the protagonists are two women who live or work at the Library. In 1913, Laura lives with her family in an apartment within the library (I did not know about this and it sounds amazing!). Her husband is the superintendent for the library. In 1993, Sadie is the curator for one of the collections at the library. Books have disappeared from the library in both timelines.

I love the premise of this book. I love that it is set in the New York Public Library. I love the descriptions of the library and the rare books. I wanted to like this book more than I did. Something was missing - maybe it was the characters...I'm not sure. I liked the 1993 story better than the 1913 story.
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What did I like about this book?  I liked that it was set in New York City, in that palace of a library. It made me wonder if the lions in front of the library, Patience & Fortitude were what the characters needed to get through life. I liked that it took place in 1913 and 1993.  I liked how the family name that lived in the library apartment was Lyons.  I liked that the main character in 1913, Laura Lyons, had the same struggles as most women, even in today's time.  I liked the way she wove the two times in history together.  I liked that there was a mystery that started in 1913 & ended in 1993.  I liked Sadie, she too had her struggles. I really liked the way the author told the story.  What did I not like about this book?  It ended.

Thank you #PenguinGroupDutton for granting me the ARC of #TheLionsofFifthAvenue and to #netgalley or supplying it.
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Laura Lyons is married to the superintendent for the New York Public Library. Her husband and their family actually live in an apartment in the library. Laura decides to go back to school and become a journalist. Being a woman…and 1913…this is not an easy feat. Then some valuable books disappear from the library. This threatens everything she has worked for…including her family.

Now, fast forward to the 1990s. Sadie almost has her dream job of curator for the New York Public Library. She has kept hidden the fact that Laura Lyons, the famous essayist, is her grandmother. She does not want to use this as leverage. But, when valuable objects and books start missing from the library. Things start to cave in around her.

I enjoyed how the author incorporated the two time periods. And she did an excellent job with the differences for woman during both eras. I was extremely fascinated with just about every part of this book. The characters, the building of the library, the history around the objects…just amazingly well done!

No one does old New York like Fiona Davis! And this book is one of her bests! As most of you know…I love a book which has me researching. And this one had me looking up all kinds of stuff.

Do not miss this one! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
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How fun would it be to live inside the NY Public Library?!!
This book covers a family connection to the library filled with intrigue, secret passage ways, longings, financial/economic (in)security and power and the relationships that get you through life.  Spanning 3 generations of a family, readers are gradually led to understand the threads connecting this family to historically significant book thefts.  Along the way, we enjoy the scenic route through the underbelly of the architectural marvel that is the NY Public Library.   The role of women in society and their desire for rights and power and the emergence of female confidence through the generations play a major role in story's progression.  The book grabbed me from the start, it was difficult to put down.
I especially enjoyed the insider nods to librarians!
Definite must read.
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The setting of The Lions of Fifth Avenue is the iconic New York City Library. A book about books taking place in a library, talk about an invitation for intrigue. Fiona Davis is not a new author for me, I have read all her previous books, each with a unique setting, dual time periods and interesting characters, bringing history to life with the different eras.

Beginning in 1913, its a different world for women as they face criticism and hostility for wanting to take control of their lives, whether from strangers or family. To depart from the traditional roles that have been around for centuries, to think for themselves and have a say in what they want to do.  Davis portrayed that nicely with Laura Lyons as her family lives in an apartment within the NYC library. 

In 1993 Lyons grand daughter, Sadie, is going through her own trials one of which is the disappearances of valuable books from the same library.  A coincidence?

There is a lot going on in this book, from the struggle for identity, acceptance, heartache and mystery that spans centuries. I enjoyed reading about the library, its procedures, rules and the stacks. Both in the past and current settling.  While I found the story slowed down for a bit it did pick up for the last past that made up for it. 

The Lions of Fifth Avenue releases tomorrow.  My digital copy was provided by the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.
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