Cover image for The Fifth Avenue story society : a novel
The Fifth Avenue story society : a novel
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R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
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An invitation to join The Fifth Avenue Story Society gives five New York strangers a chance to rewrite their own stories.

Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother's multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they're victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to reveal their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it's there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hauck (The Memory House) intertwines the stories of five New Yorkers who each receive a mysterious invitation to join a "story society" in this exhilarating inspirational. Lexa is a young, now-single businesswoman fighting for the title of CEO at a gourmet burger chain. Brooding professor Jett can't get over the loss of his wife and brother, hates his parents, and can't finish his dissertation. Aging Ed wants to write a memoir of his love story with recently deceased wife. Beautiful Coral's cosmetic company is losing money on the product she worked so hard on, and Chuck, whose ex-wife has custody of their daughter and son, just wants the chance to see his kids again. Though they're all confused about why they've been brought together, the group soon grows to depend on their Monday night meetings, during which they try to figure out who sent them the mysterious invite and also slowly rewrite the stories of their broken lives. While the plotting is straightforward--each character always knows (and has the means) to help one of the others out-- Hauck inspires and uplifts with this mix of tales. Readers who enjoy Karen Kingsbury will love this. (Feb.)

Booklist Review

Five New Yorkers receive mysterious invitations to a story society at an exquisite private library. None of them knows how the invitations were delivered or who they are from but they all show up, and their convening remains unexplained. Ed, a septuagenarian Vietnam war vet, wants to write about his fairy-tale marriage to Esmerelda. Coral may be about to lose her multimillion-dollar family cosmetics business following her broken engagement to a prince. Lexa has been doing the job of a CEO but with the pay and title of an executive assistant. Chuck, an Uber driver, just wants to see his kids. College professor Jett needs to get his dissertation on his literary idol in shape to publish as a book, but he is beginning to worry that his hero may have been a fraud. Although they seem to have little in common, they decide to keep meeting. As they end up helping each other through their struggles, their secrets gradually unfold. Best-selling Hauck's (The Memory House, 2019) latest gently inspirational tale will have strong appeal for readers who like wholesome, character-driven fiction.--Diana Tixier Herald Copyright 2020 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Five New Yorkers, ranging from an Uber driver to a multimillionaire CEO, each find an unaddressed card in their belongings inviting them to a meeting of the Fifth Avenue Story Society. Each one arrives with an untold story, a secret weighing down their hearts, but no one can figure out who sent the invitations or why they have been brought together. Despite misgivings, the members continue to meet every Monday night to share a meal. Soon they end up sharing more about their lives, forming friendships across professional and class boundaries. Then the question becomes, whether the society can survive the reality hidden behind each carefully constructed public story, or are some wounds beyond healing? Gradually and skillfully, Hauck (The Wedding Dress; The Memory House) reveals each character and the intertwining plot arcs in a fun and meaningful book. VERDICT Examining how the tales we tell have the power to hurt and to heal, Hauck's crossover novel is for both romance and inspirational readers. Its message will resonate with readers long after the last page.--Christine Barth, Scott Cty. Lib. Syst., IA