The Lions of Fifth Avenue
By: Fiona Davis
Publication Date: 08/04/2020
My Rating: 5 Stars + A Good Morning America Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller! “A page-turner for booklovers everywhere! . . . A story of family ties, their lost dreams, and the redemption that comes from discovering truth.”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife In New York Times bestselling author Fiona Davis's latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.
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. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and 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 is drawn to Greenwich Village's new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women's rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But 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.
"Davis delves into the history of the New York Public Library in this delightful mystery.... The characters and story are stellar, but the real star of the show is the library, which Davis evokes beautifully."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a book written for book lovers."
“Davis gives readers a mystery and a historical novel all in one absorbing tale.”
"The magnificent Fiona Davis has written a page turner for book lovers everywhere! I was on the edge of my seat as Laura Lyons, the ambitious essayist, breaks down social barriers and finds herself adrift in her own life at the end of the Belle Epoque in 1913 New York City. Secrets are revealed eighty years later by her granddaughter, who found her way into the family business, working at the New York Public Library. This is a story of family ties, their lost dreams and the redemption that comes from discovering truth."
—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife
"In a compelling novel that's part family saga, part high-stakes heist, and part love story, Fiona Davis creates an intricate and beautiful puzzle that kept me turning page after page as I tried to solve its central mystery along with her characters. A gripping and satisfying story for book-lovers the world over."
—Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost
"A captivating ode to the power of books, the bonds of family, and the beauty of finding the strength to be ourselves. Fiona Davis's spectacular setting—the iconic New York Public Library—comes alive across the generations as two women—one in 1913 and one in 1993—struggle with their own identities, a compelling mystery, and a tragedy that impacts both of them. What begins as a search for vanished rare books becomes, for both women, a quest to redefine themselves and open their hearts. This is a novel for all those who believe in the transformative magic of the written word."
—Kristin Harmel, international bestselling author of The Winemaker's Wife and The Room on Rue Amelie
“A love letter to literature, the New York Public Library, and the strength of women, The Lions of Fifth Avenue is classic Fiona Davis—a masterfully executed story about two women living decades apart, mysterious family secrets, and the quest to stake a place in society and history. Dazzling and evocative, with vibrant settings and unforgettable characters, this novel is perfect for fans of female-driven historical fiction. I loved it.”
—Karma Brown, internationally bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife
"In this thrilling, poignant, and utterly irresistible novel, we are immersed in the secrets of the famed New York Public Library and the family whose lives are intertwined with it in 1913 and 1993. At once a breathtaking, page-turning mystery and a deeply personal story of women attempting to forge independent lives, it is, ultimately, a glorious tale of love. Love of family, love of vocation, and, above all, the love of the timeless power of the written word."
—Sarah-Jane Stratford, author of Radio Girls and Red Letter Days
“With The Lions of Fifth Avenue, author Fiona Davis proves she is the master of the duel timeline! Once again she illuminates another New York City landmark—the New York Public Library—and expertly creates two rich, mysterious worlds which she deftly braids together into a compelling, page-turning read. This is a novel for all who treasure books."
—Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer
"Fiona Davis takes readers on a journey into the heart of one of New York's most venerable landmarks, the New York Public Library, in a story that follows two generations of strong-minded women, both connected to a mysterious series of rare book thefts. This novel is brimming with juicy literary details and fascinating feminist history."
—Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light
“Davis' latest NYC-set historical novel is grounded in researched detail, transporting readers between the 1910s and the 1990s. Bibliophiles and fans of Naomi Wood and Paula McLain will especially enjoy this glimpse inside the history of the institution and the tireless dedication of those who serve it.”
“Fiona Davis has again produced a first-class tale ....intrigue seeps through until the final pages, revealing New York in the early 1900s, the beginnings of the feminist movement and the insidious sale of stolen rare books. It’s a literary delight.”
“This novel is made for book lovers.... A literary mystery that’s full of surprises.”
—Modern Mrs Darcy
"The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a lovely story that brings you in and keeps you there... a wonderful addition to anyone’s summer reading list." -
About the Author
Fiona Davis began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater.
After getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Fiona's books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
She's a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City. Website