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The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel von Fiona…
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel (2020. Auflage)

von Fiona Davis (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
4754240,260 (3.78)24
Titel:The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel
Autoren:Fiona Davis (Autor)
Info:Dutton (2020), 368 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek


The Lions of Fifth Avenue von Fiona Davis

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This book has everything I look for in a work of fiction: library-centered, well-paced plotting, interesting characters. Not that the story is perfect: I do think the husband of the central character was handled poorly. First, if the boy was in sight as they chased him down the hall, it is impossible that he could get to the apartment with sufficient time to completely immolate a pile of papers. Moreover, even if the revised version was destroyed, he retained the original with notes so it would have been fairly easy to type out another copy. And the son's descent into a life of petty boy-gang crime like something out of Oliver Twist seems most unlikely. Plus, even if Harry had told the thief about how to enter the book cage, it is extremely unlikely that that design flaw would still exist seventy years later.

Still, on the whole this is a marvelously crafted narrative. I'm not usually a fan of telling a tale from two different timelines or points of view, but it seems to work in this instance. ( )
  dono421846 | Sep 14, 2021 |
I could write a whole blog post about how much I love libraries, and all the ways libraries have been great friends all my life. But this is a book review, so I’ll just say that library love was the main reason I picked up The Lions of Fifth Avenue (2020) by Fiona Davis. And just like the actual libraries, this book did not disappoint me.

The first magical thing to know is that part of the premise is absolutely true: From 1910 to 1940, the superintendent of the New York Public Library’s newly built Fifth Avenue main building lived with his family inside the library in a seven-room apartment. Can you imagine?! Of course, his job to keep the library’s technical systems and physical plant running was a 24/7 job, so I’m sure it was not nearly as glamorous as it seems from this distance. On the other hand, what fun for his children, one of whom went on to be the library’s chief engineer, though he did not live inside the library as an adult.

But now I’ve gotten totally off track, which is just what happens when a book captures your imagination so thoroughly. The family in Davis’ book, Jack and Laura Lyons and their children, Harry and Pearl, bear little or no resemblance to the true story that inspired the novel. Our story opens in 1913, shortly after Jack and his family move into the brand-new library. While Jack is handy with tools and knows a lot about keeping the library running, his not-so-secret ambition is to be a writer and have his own books catalogued and shelved inside his new home. Laura wants to do whatever she can to help him realize his dreams. She presses Jack to let her attend Columbia University to earn a journalism degree that can help her get a job so Jack can write full-time. Gender attitudes being what they were at the time, Jack is dubious about this plan but gives his tentative approval. Laura hadn’t counted on all the new people and experiences to which she would be exposed at university, and she finds herself changing in profound ways that affect her family.

That storyline alone would have been enough to keep me interested, but Davis also works in a contemporary timeline, featuring Jack and Laura’s granddaughter Sadie. Sadie never met her grandparents and her mother refused to talk about growing up in the library, but Sadie has nevertheless found her own employment at the NYPL, as the curator of a special collection. As she helps to plan a fundraising gala to spotlight the collection, a series of events bears an uncanny resemblance to things that happened while her grandparents lived in the library. But can she figure out the connections in time to save the reputation of her family — and herself?

The dual timelines aren’t hard to keep straight, and I found myself almost equally interested in both (with a slight preference for Jack and Laura in the 1910s). But they come together in a satisfying ending that neatly wraps up pretty much every dangling storyline. I think lovers of libraries and historical fiction will find a lot to like here. ( )
  rosalita | Sep 5, 2021 |
1919 the Lyon family lives n the main library of the New York Public Library where the husband serves as caretaker. Rare books begin to disappear, and the family of 4 begins to fall apart. Switch forward to a granddaughter of one of the kids also working with rare books at the NYPL. And again rare books are disappearing. She knows little of her family history. Is there are connection between the two episodes of book theft. A bit convoluted, but entertaining. ( )
  pennykaplan | Aug 6, 2021 |
In the 1910s, Jack Lyon and his family reside in an apartment in the newly built New York Public Library as a benefit to his position as building superintendent. His wife Laura dreams of becoming a journalist and finds a way to attend Columbia's journalism school. When valuable books go missing, suspicion falls to Jack since he is one of a handful of persons with access to the rare books. In 1993, their granddaughter Sadie becomes the temporary curator of the valuable Berg Collection. Once again valuable books go missing, and suspicion falls to Sadie. Sadie must learn the truth behind the thefts of the past and present and find a connection if there is one. While I enjoyed the book overall, I felt some nonessential elements were added to the plot to fit what seems to be a current publishing agenda. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jul 27, 2021 |
What an extraordinary mystery across two separate time periods - New York City of 1913 and 1993. Fiona Davis, is known for her literary pieces celebrating a New York City building as a well-developed character of the story. This one is no exception and it certainly did not disappoint.

This time, Ms. Davis has explored the intricacies of the New York City Public Library on Fith Avenue, you know, the one with the two lions out in front - named Patience and Fortitude. The year is 1913 and the Lyon family has moved into the apartment suite at the New York City Library. (Who knew there had been one in there?!) Jack Lyon had been hired as the Superintendent of the library and the apartment was a perk of the post. His wife, Laura, was an aspiring journalism student. Together, they had two young children, eleven year old Harry and seven year-old Pearl. This was not a lending library and precious books were suddenly disappearing. Move forward eighty years. Pearl is an aging widow and mother of Lonnie, a physician and Sadie, the temporary curator of the library's Berg Collection of rare books and literary artifacts. Yet again, books start disappearing. Is there a connection across the two time periods? The thefts seem impossible yet cannot be denied. Will the perpertrator be brought to account?

The story is full of love of family, love of the written word, and love for an exquisite architectural icon. It is also one of challenges of ideas and challenges to the status quo. The characters in the story are well-developed and the amount of research which went into the story is tremendous. This book should appeal to fans of historical fiction and those who wish to learn more about the early years of the feminist movement as it played out in New York City. I look forward to reading more by this most gifted author. ( )
  KateBaxter | Jul 12, 2021 |
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For librarians everywhere
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She had to tell Jack.
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She supposed a death in the family did that, made you dredge up the silt from the bottom of your life.
Her future was in her hands, a book yet to be written. How she chose to fill its pages was entirely up to her.
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Durchschnitt: (3.78)
2 11
2.5 3
3 25
3.5 21
4 52
4.5 7
5 26

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