The Lions of Fifth Avenue Review

Hello, all!

A fun fact about me: I have awful luck. I'm one of those people who constantly throw their name into giveaways and contests in hopes of winning something, yet never do. So, when I entered a GoodReads giveaway for The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis, I was shocked to find out I'd actually won. Big thanks to them and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-21-20
Historical Fiction

To most, it may seem that Laura Lyons lives the perfect life for a woman in 1913. She has a loving family, and her husband has a great job as the superintendent of the New York Public Library, where they all live in an apartment within the grand building. Despite all this, Laura wants more. She's passionate about having her own career and being able to stand on her own. When she gets accepted to Columbia Journalism School, she thinks she's one step closer to her dream. As her studies take her all over the City, she's drawn to the new bohemian vibe of Greenwich Village. Here, her friend and confidant, Amelia Potter, introduces her to the Heterodoxy Club-- a club full of free-thinking, radical women who aren't afraid to loudly voice their opinions on all matters from women's rights to birth control. While Laura is off having the time of her life, books start going missing at the library and her family starts to fall apart, and she must confront these issues before she loses everything.

In 1993 New York, Sadie Donovan has just been promoted to her dream job as curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. Her joy soon turns sour after a string of thefts start cropping up where priceless books go missing. Sadie, who happens to be the granddaughter of the famed essayist, Laura Lyons, has always felt a deep connection to the library, so she doesn't take these thefts lightly. As she assists the private investigator in getting to the bottom of them, she uncovers some unsettling truths about her family. Especially when she learns about the thefts during her grandmother's time, and how they eerily line up with what's happening now.

Historical fiction set in New York and at a library? Sign me up! I was really interested in this story and I did enjoy it, but I just felt it was missing something. I loved following Laura on her journey to independence. I went to school for journalism, so I felt a connection straight away. Watching her ferret out stories and try so hard to prove herself was empowering. She never let her gender hinder her, instead used it to pave her own way, and it was so amazing to see it work out so well. I enjoyed the Laura chapters slightly more than Sadie's for that reason. I liked Sadie, but I did find her a bit annoying at times. She came off a little too pretentious on occasion, which in turn, made it hard for me to connect fully. The two different book theft mysteries worked well and the way Davis weaved them together was nice. I will say I guessed the outcome for the 1913 mystery, but the one from Sadie's time threw me, and while I did appreciate the fact that I didn't see it coming, I felt it was wrapped up a little too conveniently. Overall, this was an enjoyable story and one to pick up if you're a fan of the genre.

Rating: 3/5


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