The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis has Sadie Donovan working as the curator for the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. She is working on an upcoming exhibit and has decided to see if she can find something unique regarding her grandmother, Laura Lyons. Laura has become popular recently, but Sadie knows very little about the woman who died before she was born. Sadie has not told anyone at work about her connection to famous essayist and writer. She is grateful that she kept this information under wraps when she learns that there was a book stolen on her grandfather’s watch back in 1913. Jack Lyons was the superintendent of the library when books began disappearing from the locked cages, and an entry in his daily diary suggests a bad outcome. When books begin vanishing after Sadie takes charge, she finds her career on the line. Sadie needs to learn how someone is obtaining access to the collection, and she believes the answers lie in the past.
|The New York Public Library (exterior)|
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis is a stimulating dual-timeline novel. The story moves between 1993 with Sadie Donovan and 1913 with Laura Lyons. I found The Lions of Fifth Avenue to be well-written with interesting characters. Laura Lyons was a woman ahead of her time. Laura is a wife and mother who has become restless. She is a Vassar graduate who would like a passion in her life. Her husband, Jack is passionate about the book he is writing, and she wants to find something that fulfills her. Laura is accepted into the Columbia Journalism School which opens a new world. She is drawn to a group of women in Greenwich Village who belong to the Heterodoxy Club which encourages them to share their views and ideas on women’s suffrage, birth control, and much more. Sadie works at the New York Public Library in the Berg Collection. She becomes interim curator and is working hard on an upcoming exhibit. Sadie would like to find something of her grandmother’s, Laura Lyons for the exhibit that would wow her boss. Sadie’s mother was tight lipped about Laura and all of Laura’s papers were destroyed upon her death. But Sadie is excellent at her job and she uncovers information that perhaps should remain buried. When books start disappearing from the Berg Collection, it is reminiscent of thefts that occurred in 1913. Sadie begins searching for answers. I loved hearing about the apartment within the New York Public Library. The author’s descriptions allowed me to imagine the vast library with its beautiful marble, painted ceilings, and the bast number of books. I expect that many bibliophiles would love to live in a library (imagine the fun at night when everyone is gone). I liked learning about the New York Public Library and the resources it contains. Sadie and Laura were developed characters with differing personalities. The secondary characters were less developed. The pacing was slower than I prefer. The mysteries surrounding the books was clever (how the deed was accomplished). It is not difficult, though, figuring out the guilty parties. I appreciated that everything was wrapped up at the end. The Lions of Fifths Avenue is an intriguing historical mystery with ancestral aenigmas, missing manuscripts, a manipulating mother, library lions, and bibliophile bliss.
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