The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"It's 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn't ask for more out of life-her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she finds herself drawn to Greenwich Village's new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club-a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women's rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she's forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process. Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she's wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie's running begin disappearing from the library's famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage-truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library's history"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781524744618
Branch Call Number: DAVIS F
Characteristics: 354 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Lions of 5th avenue


From the critics

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Jan 14, 2021

I was very excited to start this book. There were so many great reviews that I read, and it made me even more excited every time I read one. But, sadly this book was not what I thought it was.
The story seemed okay at the beginning and the only problem I had was, one point of view was very boring while the other was more interesting, and this made me very bored while reading the one or two chapters of the boring point of view. At first, I didn't give too much thought to it because I was hoping the story got better, but that was not the case.
I really didn't understand why it was necessary to make some characters do the things they did. Sure, I know it builds character but I felt that the actions they took did not apply to the plot of the book at all.
A part of the book I did enjoy was how Laura found the Heterodoxy Club. I think it was a very unique touch to the book, adding a group of women who fight for what they believe in and openly talk about topics that need to be discussed more.
Overall this was definitely not my favourite book I have read, thus why I have given it 1.5 stars. But if you do want to read this book go ahead! There is no point in not reading a book because someone else doesn't like it, if you think it sounds interesting go ahead and read it. You can always give it a try and put it down later.

Let me know what you think about the book! (P.S. please no spoilers so other people who haven't read the book can read it)

-Michelle :)

Jan 14, 2021

I enjoyed reading this book which was different. It was about a family living in a library. It was a great story & hard to put down!!

Jan 05, 2021

from the Bas Bleu catalog

Jan 02, 2021

I couldn't read this one fast enough. Loved the plot and the elements of this captivating and well-researched historical novel: the location of the iconic New York Public Library, rare books that go missing within a "locked room" setting, the early days of women's rights, and a duel timeline (1913 and 1993) with family relationships tying the whole novel together.

Both time periods focus on a strong female protagonist struggling to be herself, to be independent as well as hold onto the bonds of family. This is a story of love, writing and books, secrets kept and revealed, and dreams lost and found. I highly recommend it!

Dec 30, 2020

A fun read about the family who lived and took care of the library. Family history and secrets kept for several generations come to light. Where are the books and artifacts going? How are they getting stolen and by whom?

Dec 01, 2020

If you like libraries, history, mysteries, and resourceful female characters, you will enjoy this novel. The story jumps back and forth between 1913 where we meet a budding feminist writer who happens to be living in the in-house apartment at the New York Public Library with her superintendent husband and two children and 1993 where we meet her granddaughter who has just been named the temporary curator for the historically rich Berg Collection. During both time frames valuable first editions are stolen from the library. Who is stealing these priceless items? How? Why? Is there a connection?

Nov 28, 2020

Fiona Davis has become one of my favorite historical novelists. She has a very clear style--historical novels set in New York City, centered around a historically and architecturally important building. She also tells her stories using a dual time line, linking the past to the present (or near present).

I enjoyed this book, but I probably enjoyed this book the least of her books. I was very excited to hear her take on the New York Public Library, a building I've never visited but have heard much about. I also realized pretty quickly that this book would be more of a mystery (which I adore).

I quite liked the more contemporary (set in 1993, so more recent historical) story line and I was quickly wrapped up in the mystery. My problem with this book is that the historical story line (set in 1913) fell flat for me. For one thing, I never got a real sense of time. It just didn't feel like it took place in 1913 to me. I also felt that it was an unfocused plot and it muddied the overall mystery of the book. I quickly tired of Laura Lyons as a character and, well, just didn't care about her.

As I said, the more recent plot worked far better for me. It was here that I got the real feel of the New York Public Library. I also liked Sadie as a character and I understood her in a way that I never understood Laura. It was also here that the mystery came together, which was an interesting mystery (even if there were parts of the resolution that were a bit hard to believe).

Would I recommend this book? Yes, but I'd probably recommend one of Davis's other books first. As a fan of Fiona Davis, I still appreciated reading this and I'm eagerly awaiting her next book.

JCLCatherineG Aug 19, 2020

This latest book from Davis was decent but I enjoyed “The Masterpiece” much more.

Aug 16, 2020

What book lover would not love a book with the setting of the iconic 42nd Street New York Public Library? And then to discover that at one time there was an apartment for the family of the manager of the library? It does not stop there. Along with getting to peak in so many rooms and in the book storage rooms under Bryant Park, there’s a mystery of stolen books that has a connection between 1913 and 1993.The characters of Laura Lyons who struggled with wanting a career in journalism and her granddaughter, Sadie, who is living the live she wants as a librarian in the library, have more in common than one would expect. As usual, Davis spins a captivating tale set in New York City.

DCLadults Aug 07, 2020

A New & Noteworthy staff pick 2020. The New York Public Library is the main character in this historical mystery, where twin thefts of valuable rare books are spread over two timelines starting in the early 1900s and skipping to the 1990s.

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