If you didn’t catch my book review of The Lions of Fifth Avenue in this week’s issue of the Appanoose Weekly….
Some books just click with you from first sight. I tend to be drawn to stories that involve libraries, book stores or book clubs. Books have been such a significant piece of my life for so long, it is comforting and exciting to read a story that gives “my life” a little twist. I’ve never had the honor of visiting the famous New York Public Library, but it is on my “list of places” and I always enjoy reading about it or seeing glimpses of this iconic structure on tv and in movies. The history of this building includes a historically famous apartment within the library, collections of rare manuscripts, notes from several authors and an enormous collection of books. It has stood the test of time throughout New York’s tumultuous growth, through both prosperity and tragedy.
Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, The Lions of Fifth Avenue, explores the connection between two strong willed women with connections to the library and to each other through the great mystery involving the theft of valuable pieces of the collection in different time periods.
“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. Headstrong and passionate, Laura wants more. 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– Heterodoxy was the name adopted by a feminist debating group in Greenwich Village, New York City, in the early 20th century. It was notable for providing a forum for the development of more radical conceptions of feminism than the suffrage and women’s club movements of the time. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. 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.” (adapted from book jacket)
If you are a fan of historical fiction and enjoy stories involving libraries this is a great book for you. I personally enjoyed reading into both the Heterodoxy Club and the women’s rights movement during the early 20th century after I finished this interesting and compelling mystery. Reserve your copy of The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis today by calling 641-856-6676 or log into your library account through Follett at drakepubliclibrary.org.
Submitted by: JeNel Allen Barth