Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

I loved this book! The setting, inside the New York Public Library, provide an interesting backdrop for a story of love, suspense,, family and unfulfilled dreams. A parallel story taking place in current times was a wonderful way to tie together the mystery of stolen books.
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Loved the historical details in this story, the NYPL setting, and the mysteries of who stole the missing books.  The linkage between the two time periods resolved nicely but I felt the discussion of her Grandmother’s time in London seemed rushed, more detail would have been good. Can’t wait for the next story from Fiona Davis.
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As a fan of Fiona Davis' previous books, this one did not disappoint! In 1913, Laura Lyons is the wife of the superintendant of the New York Public Library and lives in the apartment that is within the walls of the library. She is not satisfied with being a stay at home wife and mother and wants to go to journalism school. In 1992, Sadie Donovan is a curator at the New York Public Library and the granddaughter of Laura Lyons. We travel back and forth from these time periods to piece together the questions that Sadie has about her grandmother's life. I enjoyed the setting of this book and learning about the NYPL. The ending did seem a bit rushed and strained at tying up lose ends, but the rest of the book was very enjoyable.
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I was given this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This story is told from two point of views; Laura Lyons in 1933 and Sadie (I honestly can’t even remember her last name) in 1993.  Laura is Sadie’s grandmother, who died many years ago. They are also connected by the NYPL, as Laura and her family lived there when her husband was the caretaker, and Sadie is a librarian there, focusing on rare books.  They are also connected because there is a series of book thefts in both times. 

I have to say, this book was well written and researched, but I still couldn’t give it any more than 3 stars.  I didn’t find any of the characters very likable, other than Sadie’s niece.  The ending was cliched.  It was just not my cup of tea.
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Always love Fiona Davis' writing and stories especially since I love NYC. I love the two timelines and The Lions of Fifth Avenue was one of my favorites - the NYPL is a special place to me so I went in with high expectations and this didn't disappoint.
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Strong female characters and a book about books? Perfect.  The two timelines work in this well written story. Loved it and can’t wait to recommend!
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue tells the story of two generations of a family connected to a series of thefts at the New York Public Library. One woman who lives in 1913 experiences her gradual liberation and embrace of feminist movements. The other woman living in 1993 is trying to make sense of her life several years after a rough divorce. I thought that the book was fine. It did focus on different historical periods in a different setting than normal, but I also thought that it was a bit predictable and did not have much new to say. I still did look forward to reading and finishing it, though.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book!

📖: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ~ As a library lover, I could not put this book down and cannot recommend it enough! It is a story of Laura Lyons and her family, who live in the New York Public Library...yes, they live there! (Although this family is fictional, there was a family that did live there for three decades!) Rare books go missing and her family is in the center of it all. Fast forward 80 years to Sadie, Laura’s granddaughter, who is a librarian and curator at the library, when more rare books go missing on her watch. This book is a story of love, forgiveness, family, mystery, history...so good!
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This was the first book by Fiona Davis that I have read, and I will be searching for her others.  A wonderful story, that did not disappoint. I received this book in exchange for a review from Netgalley and the publisher.
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This book sounded like it would be an amazing read for me, being a librarian, amateur genealogist and lover of history. Reading the plot summary, I was excited to dive into this multi-year story, set both in the past (1910s) and more recent future (1993). The writing was wonderful but the story was also a little boring for me - too full on some details (like Laura attending journalism school and taking a lover) that I felt like it distracted from the heart of the story. The mystery that the book revolves around (both in the past and in the recent future) is who is the book thief stealing rare books? In both cases, I was surprised by the outcome and thought the author expertly tied it all together. I definitely loved all the cool details about the New York Public Library as well - it is definitely on my lists of "must see destinations."
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I struggled with this book when I first began reading it, so I put it aside for a couple of months.  When I picked it back up, I thought it was wonderful.  

About two-thirds of the way through, the plot shifts and takes off in a direction I never fathomed.  It was intriguing, surprising and genuine.  It dealt with subjects not spoken of decades ago that still exists in private.  I thought it brought everything together nicely and was a really good read.


I received an ARC from Penguin Group - Dutton through NetGalley.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.  I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.
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This book was just ok for me. I became bored very fast. There was too much detail. It did not hold my interest. I would prefer more story than detail.
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With two time lines, author Fiona Davis takes us through the lives of Laura Lyons and her granddaughter, Sadie Donovan. 
Shown through the lens of both women, Davis moves us back and forth from the 1910's to the 1990's as each woman navigates her life, her choices, and the truths that could change everything. 
Rich settings, incredible history, and beautifully written characters kept me reading much later than I anticipated.
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I loved this book.  Being a librarian and a book lover, it was perfect.  Fiona Davis hit the mark with the backstory of the New York Public Library as well as a period piece set within that storied institution, featuring the prominent lion icons in the title.  The dual timeline is perfect, setting up the story of the family living in the library (what I wouldn't give!), and then the ancestor of that family landing a job as a curator at the same library.  Fantastic.
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue
By Fiona Davis

I loved this book and simply adore every word Fiona Davis writes as her books always transports me to amazing iconic places and important timelines. In this fabulous novel, we are taken back into the early 20th century in the historic New York Public Library. 

The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a historical fiction mystery story about two head strong women in two timelines, one in 1914 about Laura Lyons, and the other in 1992 about her grand-daughter Sadie Donovan, that tells the story about books set in NYC. 

in Laura Lyons story we see her life as the wife of the New York Public Library Superintendent whose privilege s to live in an apartment within the iconic building with their two children. In more modern day story of Sadie Donovan we find her living her dream job as the curator for the library until some mysterious thefts quickly puts her career in jeopardy.

The writing is truly immersive and subject matter was so interesting to me to read about the famous library and its amazing historical significance about this landmark but also in its essence is a story about women's rights and our love for the institution that brings us joy in our reading life.
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Fiona Davis has truly become a go-to author for me, and this might be my favorite book of her’s yet! It’s historical fiction meets a fast-paced mystery, and it was nearly impossible to put down. Told in two timelines, it’s the fascinating story of people living in an apartment inside the New York Public Library (an apartment that, it turns out, actually existed!!), and the quest for some rare books that have gone missing. A must-read for book lovers, library lovers, and historical fiction junkies.
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis is set in and around the New York Public Library. This beginning of using an iconic New York City building is one of the things I have loved about Fiona Davis's books. Unfortunately, for its extremist treatment of a feminist point of view, for its introduction of a romance into what was proceeding to be a story of independence, for its ending, and for the fact the book did not include enough about its historic setting, this book was not for me. 

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2020/03/the-lions-of-fifth-avenue.html 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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The description of this book immediately interested me.  Imagine a family actually living in a library, the mysterious disappearance of rare books and family intrigue that spans eighty years.  Also, there were so many 4 and 5 star ratings for this author and this particular book that I gave it my full attention.  Well that interest was seriously challenged a number of times but persistence eventually got me to the end of the book.  

I would like to say that persistence paid off but I can’t.  In a nutshell, this book wasn’t for me.  Laura Lyons is the main character for the 1913 period.  A period when women were organizing and challenging traditional roles, socialism and anarchism were infiltrating politics, Vanity Fair and The Heterodoxy Group lived side by side. Laura is introduced to these ideas by her friend Amelia but barely wets her toes in the feminist pool while she complains about her married life and routine and how she wants to be driven by a passion like her husband’s desire for writing.  I just wanted to shake her.  

Laura's granddaughter Sadie is the main character during the 1993 period.  For me this part of the book was more interesting.  In this period we learn more about the NYPL history, we visit rooms that the public doesn’t have access to and we learn how rare books are treated and conserved.   All of which I found far more interesting than the stories of the two women. Sadly, I never became invested in any of the characters.

Overall I felt this story to be very superficial and parts of the story that should have been infused with passion and drama just fell flat.  The telling of the women’s’ stories was frequently repetitive and the writing itself didn’t always flow.  Definitely disappointed in this one.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book.
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This is the second novel of Davis's that I've read and I really find myself enjoying her work. Historical fiction is one of my favorites to read, and Davis does such a great job with the genre. She easily blends historical fiction with contemporary fiction ensuring that readers never get overly fatigued with one or the other. Davis also sets her novels in famous New York buildings. This time around we get a 1913 story-line revolving around the Lyons family living in the NY Public Library and in 1993 we have Sadie's story in which she is currently working in the library and is related to the Lyons family. I liked the connection that the current protagonist had to the library itself and to the family that resided there. I also liked the connection that was made between the stolen books and the modern-day thief. What I didn't like, though, was towards the end of the book a very dramatic event happens in 1913 to the Lyons family that just didn't feel quite authentic. Both the husband, Jack, and the son, Harry, made some choices that just didn't seem to fit with their personalities up to that point, especially Harry.

I was engrossed in this book and would read it for hours at a time, not wanting to leave the library, literally and figuratively. I read this book during the COVID-19 pandemic and at the time of reading it, the library that I currently work at is closed to browsing patrons and only open for curbside pickup and only allowing people into the building who need to access the computers/copiers/fax machines/printers. This means many hours at a desk with no one in the building which gives me time, once all of my work is caught up, of course, to read while waiting for a patron. It was pretty neat, actually, to read this work set in a library while actually being in a library! Like I said, it was super engrossing. I was much more engrossed in Laura's story than Sadie's, though. Something about Sadie felt unapproachable and I just couldn't connect to her character, which is surprising seeing as how we are both librarians and we both, apparently, focused on archives and special collections while obtaining our Master's Degrees. Her character was very guarded, though, so perhaps this was a calculated effort.

I do have to rave about Davis's writing. It is so immersive and flows so perfectly. In truth though I have to say I preferred The Chelsea Girls to this one. I will absolutely continue to read anything Davis puts out in the future and I will relish the chance to play catch-up with her back catalogue of books that I've missed!
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This is a really great look at the New York Public library and people from history who have shaped it. I know this is fiction but it's based off of real people in history and I loved that it takes place in the library! 
I like how the timelines intertwined. 
Thank you for the availability to read this book!
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