The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Dutton. Jul. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781524744618. $27. F
Imagine a family of four living within the labyrinth of the New York Public Library’s main branch. The year is 1913; Laura Lyons’s husband, Jack, is the superintendent of the building. He works days for the library and spends his evenings writing the great American novel and hoping to raise their family above subsistence level. Laura enrolls in the new Columbia School of Journalism to stabilize the family with a steady income. This act is life-changing for her, as she begins to explore Greenwich Village bohemia and meets up with a radical, opinionated group of women. Change is afoot in the culture and in their family, but all is shattered when valuable manuscripts begin to disappear from the library. A second, 1993-set story of Sadie Donovan, Laura’s granddaughter, a curator at the same library, runs through the book. When famous materials again begin to go missing from an exhibition she is working on, Sadie teams up with an investigator to find the culprit and save her career.
VERDICT Davis (The Chelsea Girls) gives readers a mystery and a historical novel all in one absorbing tale. Recommended for large public library fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/19.]

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