5 reviews

The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel
by Fiona Davis

Published: 2020-08-04T00:0
Hardcover : 368 pages
15 members reading this now
82 clubs reading this now
7 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 5 members
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 ...

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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.

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Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. Laura Lyons, despite her husband’s protests, wants to be a wife, a mother and a dedicated journalism student. Do you think women still face societal pressure today to only fill traditional roles? Do you think it’s possible to “have it all”?

2. The NYPL is very important to both Laura and Sadie. Is the library important to you? What role do you think your local library plays in your community?

3. How does Sadie’s character challenge stereotypes about librarians? Before reading this book, did you know the different roles they play in serving the public?

4. How did going to the Heterodoxy club change Laura? Do you see similar organizations at work today? What is the importance of having spaces where women can voice their opinions, stories and plans for the future?

5. What do you think of how Laura handles the situation after she finds out the identity of the book thief?

6. Losing the only copy of his manuscript is a devastating blow to Jack. Do you think the act of burning the manuscript was justified? Why or why not? How do you think technology has changed the value we put on the written word?

7. In her note, Laura writes that “it was all ultimately her fault, that her own actions initiated a cascade of tragedies.” Why do you think Laura believes she is responsible? Do you agree? Would things have been different if so much responsibility in the home didn’t fall only to Laura?

8. At the trial, Sadie argues for a harsher sentence for the book thief because what was stolen was more than a number of pages worth a certain amount, but “pieces of Western history and culture that have a dramatic impact...the loss of these items is a detriment to all of humanity.” Do you agree that the thief should receive a longer sentence? Given these items are priceless, do you think that locking them away is a viable solution? If not, why do you think it’s important for the public to have access to these items?

9. Why do you think Sadie was so closed off from people? In part, she used her grandmother’s life as a justification for her own. What do you think finding out about Laura’s real life did for Sadie?

10. Laura struggles with her conflicting commitments to school and the Heterodoxy club. Do you think she did the right thing? Would you have done the same? Why do you think it was important to the women of the Heterodoxy club to keep their discussions private? Why wouldn't they want their ideas disseminated?

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Carol . (see profile) 11/16/23

  "Writing style didn't grab me"by ELIZABETH V. (see profile) 08/15/23

Although THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE is a novel meant for adult readers, the writing style is too young adult for my taste. This story is about adults rather than teenagers, and as far as I ca... (read more)

by Mary Taggart S. (see profile) 08/04/23

by Heather W. (see profile) 04/20/23

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by Debra M. (see profile) 01/17/23

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