Cover Image: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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Member Reviews

I like historical fiction, parallel narratives, and the New York Public Library, so I expected to love this book. It definitely held my attention, but it became too melodramatic for my tastes and I didn't particularly like the main characters.
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Davis is a master at storytelling - period. She takes factual events from history and sprinkles in her own flavor to weave incredible tales. It was evident the amount of time, dedication, and research Ms. Davis spent on this novel. I was blown away, completely flabbergasted. It is a gift to readers when authors hone their craft and additionally, spend a lot of time fact-checking. I've talked about this before in reference to historical fiction. . . when reading historical fiction, I like it to be as close to the facts as possible. In this book, it was clear that Ms. Davis knew her subject well.

This story is based on a number of book thefts that were occurring in the NY Public Library system. 

This book used a technique that I have come to know well in the last few years. A technique I've had a love/hate relationship with. Alternating timelines. However I don't have a single complaint with how it was executed in this book!

If you liked Gentleman in Moscow or any other Davis books you'll love this!
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I absolutely loved this book where – in classic Fiona Davis style – the setting becomes a character of its own through the narrative. And what a beautiful narrative. It's the story of two compelling women, connected through the New York Public Library across generations. More than just about rare books that go missing and the suspense therein, it's also about women who learn to live comfortably in their own skin, the sacrifices and challenges faced by those who brought us our freedoms and the entire history of a city. The research is superb and the characters are extremely well developed. Fiona Davis has done it again!
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Fiona Davis has a way of intertwining history and fiction. She does it again with “The Lions of Fifth Avenue”. I always enjoy her style of merging two eras within the same iconic New York City address. This story is set in The New York Public Library. Rare books are missing from the library’s special collection so curator Sadie Donovan must figure out who took them. The story leads to the early 1900s and her grandmother, writer Laura Lyons. Just when you think you figured out whodunnit, the story takes another turn.
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Loved this book. Historical and about Libraries....perfect for me. I will be reading more of Fiona Davis after this for sure!
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Another knockout novel for Fiona Davis.  The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a hit!  Ms. Davis is a master of writing historical fiction revolving around NYC's most famous structures.   The New York Public Library setting is brilliant.  Throughout the story you will develop the most wonderful picture, full of detail, of this landmark in all its glory. The main characters are two charismatic women, from two different times (1913/1993)., Ms. Davis writes a perfectly flowing story, that will uncover their unique relation, while exploring the intricacies of one of the largest US libraries.  .One woman,  Laura,  and her family, live physically within the library building.   The  other woman, Sadie, works in the library as a librarian.  It is a story full of emotion, family, twists, accomplishments,  sacrifices, and strength that bring the two women together.  

The portrayal of the library system operations covered the topics of restoration, special collections, value, and preservation   For the booklover there are biblio related mentions and nuggets from start to finish.   No doubt, after reading The Lions of Fifth Avenue, you will want to  make a personal visit, to meet Patience and Fortitude. in person.

I loved  The  Lions of Fifth Avenue just as I have all of the novels written by Davis so far.  Of course, my interest in books and love for libraries, made this one extra interesting and enjoyable.  As always, I am already anticipating the next novel and its place of wonder.

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read/review this title in exchange for my personal and honest feedback.

#netgalley
#fionadavis
#thelionsoffifthavenue
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Another triumph for one of the best authors working today.  I love these novels and learning about NYC and its history.  This latest installment is fantastic and reading about the NYC public library, is wonderful.  I must admit, I found the end a bit rushed and easy, but certainly doesn’t detract from the marvelous book.  Bravo!
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I choose to read this book because I've read the author's previous works, which I've enjoyed. This book did not disappoint. As a librarian, I was intrigued by the New York Public Library as the setting for the story. The historical chapters gave insight to the Library "as it was."  The mystery part of the book was interesting and I was able to understand the plot throughout the story.
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I love all of Fiona Davis' work, and this one did not disappoint! I love the way she switches between a historical event and more modern times - in this case 1913 and the 1990s. It does a great job of building suspense through both stories. I loved learning more about the New York Public library, and loved the story.
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Fiona Davis has written a number of historical fiction titles.  Each book is set in an iconic NYC landmark and has a dual narrative structure and timeline.  In this, the strongest of her novels yet, the reader spends time at the main New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. 


The story in the past begins around 1913.  The iconic library has just opened.  The superintendent, Jack; his wife, Laura; and their two children, Pearl and Harry actually live in an apartment inside the enormous new library.  Jack, in addition to his job, is writing what he hopes will be the great American novel.  Laura, up until now, a woman who married for love and cares for her family wants more.  She enrolls as one of very few women at the Columbia School of Journalism.  Jack and Laura's desire for fulfillment leads to conflict, misunderstandings and tragedy.  The fallout from their actions influences the story that takes place in the 1990s which is about their descendants.


In the present, Sadie works as a curator at the very same library on 42nd Street.  Her love of all things bookish is apparent.  Under Sadie's watch, volumes are being stolen from the library.  How do the past and present collide?  Read the book to find out.


I learned a lot about collectable and antiquarian books as well as the library through reading this novel.  I now know more about valuable books and how they are both vulnerable and protected. Clearly Ms. Davis has been meticulous in her research and loves her subject.


There are themes to this novel in addition to the mystery, romance and depictions of life at the Columbia School of Journalism,  the Village and the library.  What sacrifices are women asked to make and when are they too much?  How much is owed to a family?  Can we be forgiven for mistakes?  How important is it to have a relationship and to take risks for it? Who should define what a person wants in life?


Ms. Davis does an excellent job of connecting the two narratives.  The book is a page turner that will be eagerly embraced by her loyal readers and will also be enjoyed by those new to the author.


Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.  I recommend it very highly.
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New York City 1913 the New York Public Library, the two lions guarding the entrance.  Jack and Laura Lyons and their two children live in an apartment in the library as Jack is the superintendent there and that apartment is provided for them.  Laura, restless as a homemaker yearns for more and is able go to the Columbia School of Journalism.  This is not just an adventure for a bored housewife, but a whole new world awaits her as she steps into studies that take her all over the city.  As Laura continued on with her studies, she left her cloistered surroundings, going out into New York's bohemian neighborhood in Greenwich Village.  It was there that she opened her eyes to the difficult reality and struggle of women's lives, the under privileged, the less fortunate, a life she never understood or was aware of.  But there was so much more she learned, that of a bohemian lifestyle, so different from her's. In the meantime, Jack was going through his own problems, something else Laura was unaware of.  However, there is grave danger that is about to destroy the Lyons lives, as valuable books are soon missing from the library.

Flash forward to 1993 where we now find Sadie Donovan who is the curator of the New York Public Library.  Sadie, Laura's granddaughter, is actually the one in charge of her grandmother's legacy, the famous essayist Laura Lyons.  Under her position as curator, however, missing manuscripts, private letters as well as notes and books begin missing from the famous Berg collection.  With her career in jeopardy and the valuable items now missing, Sadie now finds herself in the midst of helping to find the thief. Yet, what else will she find, what family secrets will be unearthed and discovered in this search?

What a double entendre with the lions guarding the library and the Lyons living within!  Between the grandmother and the grandchild, as the story unfolds, we see the absolute connection between the two. The research is impeccable, the characters well developed.  Fiona Davis has done it again. She has given us, her readers, a book that is excellent, a story that I loved and readers will treasure.  Ms. Davis is one of my favorite authors and I look forward, as always, to her next novel.

My thanks to NetGalley and Dutton Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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An interesting story that revolves around the New York Library, rare books, and a persistent librarian!
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Fiona Davis is one of my favorites and this one did not disappoint! Alternating between two time periods in New York City, this is a story of love, loss, family, and courage. 

In 1913 Laura Lyons, her husband Jack, and two children live in an apartment inside the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Laura is pursuing a journalism degree, while her husband Jack is the superintendent of the library. 

Forward to 1993, Sadie Donovan is a librarian at The New York Public Library where the Lyons family lived. She becomes curator of the Berg Collection, a special collections department with rare books and artifacts. 
The two time periods are intertwined by a series of book thefts- unique books and folios that have gone missing. As the story unfolds, both Laura and Sadie discover more about themselves and the ties that bind them together. 

As a librarian myself, I loved the research that was put into this book! I never knew the NYPL had apartments for rent, how cool. One thing I would have changed- I really wanted Harry to reconnect with his mom and sister- I can’t imagine what Laura must have felt leaving for London never knowing what became of him. I was hoping before Pearl passed that her and Harry would see each other, even just for a brief time. 

Overall excellent read as usual! Good choice for book clubs as well.
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From the title that offers a tie in : stone lions protect the library on the outside the human Lyons on the inside to the compelling female leads I loved this novel
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What a treat to receive an advanced copy of Fiona Davis' latest novel in the works, The Lions of Fifth Avenue. Davis has become an automatic, must-read author for me. I always find it enormously satisfying to sink into a novel of New York told via Davis' signature, dual-timeline narrative structure. When I saw she was writing a novel set in my favorite NYC landmark, the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman branch of the New York Public Library - it was like all my reader dreams came true. 
Davis tells the tales behind the famous landmarks and neighborhoods of arguably the most iconic city on earth. Her structure of alternating timelines tie history into a more modern context, and she always creates characters that you can root for. This is absolutely the case in her latest novel. The Lions of Fifth Avenue was an absolute delight for librarians, readers, and lovers of NYC.
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This was a very enjoyable book. I have read others by this author and liked them all. This novel takes place in 2 time periods, but it is not confusing to follow. I loved the setting of the New York Public Library. A good book group novel for discussion!
Thank You NetGalley and the publisher
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue takes the reader to two different time periods; the first being 1913-14, and the second is 1993. In 1913, Laura Lyons lives in an apartment tucked away in the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. She resides there with her husband Jack, the library superintendent, and her two young children, Harry and Pearl. Laura dreams of becoming a journalist, and gets accepted into the Columbia University School of Journalism’s one-year graduate program. She is one of the few women in the program. Fast forward to 1993; Sadie Donovan is a librarian at the very same library where the Lyons family lived. She gets a temporary promotion as curator of the Berg Collection, which is to feature works and artifacts of American and English Literature. This library is not a lending library, but a research library, where books and manuscripts are only borrowed inside its walls.

As Laura becomes more involved with reporting on the progressive women’s movement happening in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, she struggles with her role as a wife and mother. She questions her position in the family and realizes she wants more out of her life; she doesn’t want to live in the shadow of her husband, who is pursuing a career as a writer and spends every moment of his free time working on his manuscript. Laura struggles with the guilt she feels over leaving her children regularly to pursue her stories, and this guilt contrasts with the exhilaration she feels knowing she might just be making a difference in the lives of women everywhere.

The two time periods are tied together by a series of book thefts. As it turns out, Sadie Donovan is related to Laura Lyons; she is her grandmother. The story unfolds as the characters in their respective time periods attempt to solve the mystery of these valuable and rare stolen books and return them to the library. As one would suspect, the two time periods are inextricably tied to one another, and it is through a series of discoveries and events that the reader finally learns what happened. Although I found certain aspects of the plot and characters a bit predictable, I still could not turn the pages fast enough as I learned about each nuance of the mystery. My accurate predictions did not detract from the enjoyment of reading the book.

I quickly became engrossed in every aspect of the story as the author’s characters came to life. The vivid descriptions of the NYPL piqued my curiosity. I identified with the characters’ positions as they grappled with their choices and motivations. 

The author dedicated the book to “librarians everywhere,” and it’s clear that Ms. Davis has done her research. The reader learns the importance of librarians and the role they play in preserving history and disseminating information to knowledge-hungry patrons. My hope is that readers of this book gain a new appreciation for the work of the librarian; it’s not just about checking books out. As a librarian myself, I thank the author for portraying the profession in a positive light, and I’m confident that librarians reading the book will also be grateful. Having finished the book, I wonder if my next read can even come close to how wonderful this book was! Fans of Fiona Davis’s other books will not be disappointed, and for those who never read one of her books, you’ll want to grab her other titles as well.
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I really enjoyed this book, and found the setting of the New York Public Library an intriguing one. There were two different time periods in the book, and I found the historic one more enjoyable than the one set in 1993.
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