Although my tastes these days tend toward feel good stories, and I’ve forgotten about checking on all the award winners this year or grabbing new publications as soon as available, I am still always looking for a good book to take me away from reality.
Fiona Davis took me to the New York City Library and favorite neighborhoods I wonder if I will ever see again in The Lions of Fifth Avenue. An historical novel framed around a series of book thefts spans two generations of women as they navigate family and careers. With a smattering of women’s rights and a big dose of family drama, the story is easy to follow and with a read-it-in-a-setting vibe. It was a Valentine’s present to me through Libby, the library’s email guru, after a friend recommended it. If you are a lover of New York City, a lover of libraries, or just want to escape into the stacks again, The Lions of Fifth Avenue will satisfy.
William Kent Krueger’s Thunder Bay also has an historical bent, with a suspenseful plot and a taste of the Old West in the seventh book in Krueger’s Cork O’Connell mystery/detective series. Search for a long-lost son mingles with gold in Canada and the Ojibwe tribe in Northern Minnesota. In his style of rich character development and slow moving plot, Krueger gave me a different perspective and a reason to turn the pages. This paperback has been sitting on my shelf, and now Krueger has his eighteenth to be published in August, 2021. I need to catch up.
I’ve preordered a stack of books:
- Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro The story of Klara, an Artificial Intelligence Friend, who observes behaviors from her shelf in the store, hoping someone will choose her.
- Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams The misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and a young woman investigating his adventures a century later.
- The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan During World War II, a BBC radio program hold a cooking contest with the grand prize as the program’s first-ever female cohost. Four women vie for the chance to change their lives.
and, in case you are wondering, some of the award winners for 2020 are:
- Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
- Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown for the National Book Award
- Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain for the Man Booker Award
- Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet for the Women’s Prize for Fiction
- Raven Leilani’s Luster for Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Have you read any of them?
I read “The Lions of Fifth Avenue” a few months back. I enjoyed it as I have all the Fiona Davis books. I always learn something new about New York history in her novels. The literary structure of twin timelines seems fully established in contemporary fiction. Sometimes the author manages it well and sometimes it fractures the narrative. When each POV is clearly identified, as here, I think it helps the reader understand how the history is relevant to modern life.
I agree – glad you liked it as much as I did.