Good Morning America has already chosen THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Fiona Davis as their book of the month for August. How smart is that! I loved this novel and just know it’s going to be on every book lovers list for reading this year. And rightly so. After all, it takes place mostly in The New York Public Library.
Fiona Davis has done her homework. She’s managed to bring us a marvelous novel that’s rife with great behind the scenes information about one of the most iconic buildings in our country. She also ties in big women’s issues and adds a complicated plot. And along with this she’s filled the story with strong women and a mystery that promises to keep you up at night.
The story begins in 1913 with the superintendent of The New York Public Library and his wife and their two children moving into an apartment within the stacks of the actual library. My thoughts upon first reading this were that surely this was not true. After all, this is a novel. However, there really was an apartment deep within the library and the superintendent lived there. Boom! Laura, Lyons, the wife, seems to have a perfect life. But, she’s discontent and as her husband spends all his spare time writing his novel, Laura wants to also pursue her career. And so she returns to school: Columbia School of Journalism, no less. There she realizes that she is meant for far more than being a wife and mother. And you begin to see where this is going. When Laura hooks up with a radical group of women in Greenwich Village, she asks herself who she really is. And then the books begin mysteriously disappearing from the library…..
Eighty years later, we meet Sadie Donovan, who is Laura’s grandmother. We find that Laura became an award winning essayist but her life was filled with drama and complications. Sadie is working at the same library and is a curator. And then, once again, books and manuscripts begin disappearing.
I couldn’t help myself. I had to post this photo of one of the actual lions outside the New York Public Library with his mask on.
So, this novel is perfect for book lovers. Perfect for readers who love great historical fiction. It’s brilliant.
I loved reading more about the apartments within the libraries. You will too. Just google them and up will pop lots of info.
About ten years ago my daughter and I went to NYC for a week to a conference for bloggers. One of the things on our to-see list was a visit to The New York Public Library, the very one this book is about. It’s quite daunting. Silly me, I kept looking for the fiction stacks. But discovered that this library is a research library and not a library like we have here at home. It’s huge and quiet and wonderful. And very, very beautiful.
If you belong to a book club you have to know this amazing book should be on your list for this season. I know I’ll be talking about it for a long time to come. My review copy was provided digitally through Netgalley by Penguin Random House. It was a joy to be able to be a first reader. Loved it!
Fiona Davis is the internationally best selling author of several books set in famous buildings in NYC. You’re also going to want to read CHELSEA GIRLS and THE DOLLHOUSE. And there’s even more….
We have copies of THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE at Copperfish Books right now. They are discounted 20%. Run, do not walk, to get your copy now. Or, order online from us. Still discounted. If you’re a big reader you are going to want this book. Just get it! Tell them Maurice made you do it 😺