Fiona Davis has done it again. The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a wonderful book. It brings together all the elements that makes every one of Ms. Davis’ books a treasure: a dual timeline, strong female characters, an intricate plot and a beloved New York City landmark. This time the landmark is the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. It’s not a library, it’s a reading palace graced by the two majestic marble lions Patience and Fortitude – which you will learn were not their original names.
In 1913, we meet the Lyons family. Jack Lyons is the library superintendent and his wife Laura and two children live in an apartment within the library. Jack is also working on his first novel. Laura dreams of living a life of equality and is working towards becoming a journalist, something few women have done. Laura’s exposure to free-thinking New Women in Greenwich Village opens up her world creating a dissatisfaction with her current life. She believes she can be more than a wife and mother and make a real difference.
In 1993, Sadie Donovan is working at the library overseeing the Berg Collection comprised of rare books and other important items including manuscripts, letters and literary paraphernalia. We learn that Sadie is the granddaughter of Laura Lyons, who is now remembered as an important feminist writer.
During each time period, thefts of rare books have occurred in the library. Jack Lyons and Sadie become the primary suspects. Are these crimes connected to one another? Sadie needs to get to the truth.
You’ll become totally engrossed in this book - the characters and their struggles, the mystery of the stolen treasures, and this amazing setting. It’s nice to have a home library but imagine growing up with the library being your home!
Many thanks to Edelweiss, Dutton Books and Fiona Davis – one of my favorite authors, for a copy of this great book in advance of its publication date.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: August 4, 2020.
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