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The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

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An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin knows what she wants most: to An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry Charlie, her best friend, neighbor and first love. Yet when Charlie proposes to another woman, Ginny is devastated; shutting out her family, she holes up and obsessively rewrites how their story should have gone. Though Ginny works with newfound intensity, success eludes her—until she attends a salon hosted in her brother’s handsome author friend John’s Fifth Avenue mansion. Amongst painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under John’s increasingly romantic attentions. Just as she has begun to forget Charlie, however, he throws himself back into her path, and Ginny finds herself torn between a lifetime’s worth of complicated feelings and a budding relationship with a man who seems almost too good to be true. The brightest lights cast the darkest shadows, and as Ginny tentatively navigates the Society’s world, she begins to suspect all is not as it seems in New York’s dazzling “Gay Nineties” scene. When a close friend is found dead in John’s mansion, Ginny must delve into her beloved salon’s secrets to discover her true feelings about art, family, and love.


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An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin knows what she wants most: to An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry Charlie, her best friend, neighbor and first love. Yet when Charlie proposes to another woman, Ginny is devastated; shutting out her family, she holes up and obsessively rewrites how their story should have gone. Though Ginny works with newfound intensity, success eludes her—until she attends a salon hosted in her brother’s handsome author friend John’s Fifth Avenue mansion. Amongst painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under John’s increasingly romantic attentions. Just as she has begun to forget Charlie, however, he throws himself back into her path, and Ginny finds herself torn between a lifetime’s worth of complicated feelings and a budding relationship with a man who seems almost too good to be true. The brightest lights cast the darkest shadows, and as Ginny tentatively navigates the Society’s world, she begins to suspect all is not as it seems in New York’s dazzling “Gay Nineties” scene. When a close friend is found dead in John’s mansion, Ginny must delve into her beloved salon’s secrets to discover her true feelings about art, family, and love.

30 review for The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Going to do something I don't normally do and that is set a book aside at over 50% read. I found the premise interesting, an artist's salon in Manhattan during the Gilded Age. The writing is good too, loved the short glimpse of a young Edith Wharton and Oscar Wilde. The family, the four sisters bur seriously if I had to read one more scene with Charlie and Ginny and her constant facilitating between men and her moon struck passion for Charlie I was going to scream. Seriously. Going to do something I don't normally do and that is set a book aside at over 50% read. I found the premise interesting, an artist's salon in Manhattan during the Gilded Age. The writing is good too, loved the short glimpse of a young Edith Wharton and Oscar Wilde. The family, the four sisters bur seriously if I had to read one more scene with Charlie and Ginny and her constant facilitating between men and her moon struck passion for Charlie I was going to scream. Seriously.

  2. 4 out of 5

    MsArdychan

    Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. Reading it can transport me to a time and place I cannot possibly experience anyplace other than books. When I saw the description and beautiful cover for The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, by Joy Callaway, I jumped and requested it from Edelweiss (my first approval from them!). I have very mixed feelings about this book. There were things I loved about it, but also I felt there were flaws that made it seem inauthentic. What I Liked I did enjoy the setting Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. Reading it can transport me to a time and place I cannot possibly experience anyplace other than books. When I saw the description and beautiful cover for The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, by Joy Callaway, I jumped and requested it from Edelweiss (my first approval from them!). I have very mixed feelings about this book. There were things I loved about it, but also I felt there were flaws that made it seem inauthentic. What I Liked I did enjoy the setting of 1890's New York. I thought that the author did a wonderful job of showing the hustle and bustle of the city and the varying degrees of living standards. While some people were enormously wealthy, others were freezing and starving just blocks away. I think it must have been terrible to be one of the "have nots" in this world. One could easily see the luxury some people had, and yet you might be struggling to have enough food for your children. The author also showed the immense disparity between men and women of that time. The main character is a budding author but is rejected time and time again because she is a woman. Her sister faces similar discrimination as a musician. She cannot join an orchestra due to her gender, even though she plays better than the men. When Ginny finds the Fifth Avenue Artists Society, a Friday evening gathering of male and female artists, she feels like has gone to heaven. Men and Women did not usually mingle so freely, plus men often regarded women's artistic endeavors as inferior. But at these gatherings, Ginny feels respected and thrives. What I Didn't Like: The book is based on the author's ancestors. This is important to note because I think this is why most of the characters are not allowed to have any real faults. The author soft-peddles their flaws to the point that everyone has a good heart, even if they have done despicable things. Ginny, the main character, is hurting from being blind-sided with her childhood sweetheart marrying a different (and wealthy) girl. Yet, she still seems to love him. Her brother, Franklin, also makes some very bad choices, but since he would never intentionally hurt someone, all is forgiven. Ginny even gets mad at her family members when they become angry with Franklin. Although Franklin goes through a lot of difficulties, I thought he (and others) just weren't allowed to be actually bad people. I also thought Ginny continuing to love Charlie was problematic. Charlie visits Ginny and (and kisses her on the street in full view of the neighbors) despite being married. This would have caused a scandal in 1892. But there are no consequences for their open affection of each other. Also Ginny doesn't seem to feel bad that she is interfering in Charlie's marriage. I was waiting for a juicy confrontation between Ginny and Charlie's wife, Rachel. It would have been much more realistic if Rachel paid Ginny a little visit and told her to stay away from her husband. This would have given Ginny reason to pause and consider the implications of what she was doing. There were also several scenes where Ginny is getting very physical with men. She doesn't seem to feel any Victorian guilt or worry that she is being intimate without a ring on her finger. I thought this was out of place for the time period. Even if Ginny didn't feel guilty, there should have been some explanation in the book about her being a free spirit, or something else to account for her behavior. While I liked the setting and the story of struggling artistic sisters, I just felt that this book could have used more authentic personal dilemmas and been more honest about the darker side of the character's personalities.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I was lucky enough to read a draft of this book. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s one of those books that will stick with me. Beautiful story and lovely writing. It’s timeless.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    The Fifth Avenue Artists Society is an enthralling glimpse into New York City literary and artistic society in the 1890’s. Virginia Loftin, an aspiring writer, is one of five children whose family has been struggling financially ever since their father died several years before. The family resides in the Bronx, and all but one of the siblings are artistic - a musician, two writers, and a milliner who designs outlandish creations for her many clients, including the Astors and the Vanderbilts. As The Fifth Avenue Artists Society is an enthralling glimpse into New York City literary and artistic society in the 1890’s. Virginia Loftin, an aspiring writer, is one of five children whose family has been struggling financially ever since their father died several years before. The family resides in the Bronx, and all but one of the siblings are artistic - a musician, two writers, and a milliner who designs outlandish creations for her many clients, including the Astors and the Vanderbilts. As the book opens, Virginia is jilted by the love of her life. As she struggles to overcome her grief and anger, she pours out her soul into her writing. To help distract her, her brother Franklin introduces her to a group of artists, musicians, and writers that meet frequently at the fictional John Hopper’s house on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. As she becomes more involved with this group and its founder, she realizes that everything is not always as it seems. Joy Callaway does a wonderful job depicting the female role in society in the 1890’s. Both Virginia and her sister Alevia struggle to succeed in their respective fields because women were not yet viewed as anything but homemakers and in the wealthy set as the keeper of the social calendar and obligations. As they both begin to break through this barrier, they are then barred by society’s failure to look past a family scandal completely outside of their control. I never fail to be amazed at what earlier women endured to provide us with the freedom and choice we have today as females in the U.S. Some of my favorite parts of the novel were the appearances of Edith Wharton and Oscar Wilde at Hopper’s Fifth Avenue mansion. I also loved the descriptions of the early days of the great publishing houses like Henry Holt and G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The author clearly did her research which added tremendously to the novel. She also details at the end of the novel her inspiration for the story – her own ancestors. I felt that contributed a lot to the book also. My one complaint was that I felt that Virginia should have been a little less wishy-washy regarding her suitor situation. She vacillated too much for me. I also felt that her view towards her brother as later events unfold was not very realistic (I do not want to spoil part of the story by saying more). Thanks to HarperCollins for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it as a fascinating view of New York City society and the arts in the 1890’s.

  5. 4 out of 5

    nikkia neil

    So much more than I was expecting! This is going to blow everyone away. Family drama, passion, art, and a perfect narrator plus real life problems and no sugary excuses

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    So weird. I loved the first half...a look into budding female writer in the 1890s and the artistic salon where she finds herself among peers while overcoming heartbreak and improving her writing. But then it delves into a weird murder and drug mystery and I just lost the tone of the novel. It just got so dark and weird and unappealing and I felt like all the characters lost their sparkle and wit. Wish it would have ended half way through the novel and I would have been very happy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim Wright

    I loved this book. You have the story of a gilded age family - each member with her own special talents and dreams - but then Callaway takes the book into unexpected and refreshingly deep waters. While The Fifth Avenue Artists Society works beautifully as a family saga, a love story, and a novel of manners it also explores the darker side of life among the New York elite. The twists and turns at the end showed a fascinating glimpse on just what it took to keep all that art, fashion, entertaining I loved this book. You have the story of a gilded age family - each member with her own special talents and dreams - but then Callaway takes the book into unexpected and refreshingly deep waters. While The Fifth Avenue Artists Society works beautifully as a family saga, a love story, and a novel of manners it also explores the darker side of life among the New York elite. The twists and turns at the end showed a fascinating glimpse on just what it took to keep all that art, fashion, entertaining and gaiety going and the ending is utterly satisfying. Highly recommend!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vilde

    This was incredible charming, I loved the feel of this, but Virginia was awfully annoying at times.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Ideiosepius

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable, very well written historic novel set in America 1891. Virginia is one of four sisters living at home with their widowed mother and while of genteel background struggling to make the bills. Virginia's twin is the only boy and while the women contribute to the household expenses, women do not earn as much or as easily in the 1890's as men do. Of the girls, there is a musician struggling to establish a career, another making her way through making hats, a teacher and This was a thoroughly enjoyable, very well written historic novel set in America 1891. Virginia is one of four sisters living at home with their widowed mother and while of genteel background struggling to make the bills. Virginia's twin is the only boy and while the women contribute to the household expenses, women do not earn as much or as easily in the 1890's as men do. Of the girls, there is a musician struggling to establish a career, another making her way through making hats, a teacher and Virginia who is a writer and has managed to get a job writing for a periodical. She dreams of writing a novel and after an introduction to the artists salon hosted by her brothers friend she grows as a writer and as a person. That description really does not do the novel justice, there were so many levels on which I liked it that it is hard to itemise them. Ultimately, the writing style and the characterisations won me over, but I really enjoyed reading the historical period in which it was set. I loved the period setting and I believed in it, while the women were contemporary enough to be likable, their situations rang true for me. There is a decent dollop of romance in there, more than a little mystery in one way or another and fun descriptions of literary Illuminati of the era - some of which I got, though I am sure I missed others. The only things I did not like are definitely spoilers (view spoiler)[ 1)I could not believe in the romance with Charlie, I tired, I just couldn't see it. And they ended up together.... Well, I did not hate the ending, but it was disappointing. I liked John much better, and found him more believable as a partner for Virginia. 2)Drugs? really? Americans are just embarrassingly obsessed with drugs being the evilnastybadguy. Kudos to the author for realising that the drugs in question were not illegal for the time, which puts it ahead of many American writers, but still. 3)Franklin, can I just say, that until fairly recently, it was not unusual for someone to use the word 'love' in a non romantic fashion, a man saying he 'loved' a friend would not be exceptional, and when a fairly decent chunk of the plot hinges on this factor.... Also 'confirmed bachelors' were hardly unusual or socially exceptional... I was so very not convinced. (hide spoiler)] and despite the things I did not like in the novel I still thoroughly loved the book overall and would certainly recommend it to anyone who might enjoy reading in the genera.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Belle époque of NYC comes alive through the Society gatherings of many artists and writers textured with music played on the piano setting a very atmospheric background to already alive scene of hopeful artists, musicians and writers; reflecting an era of hope and joy. The author brings a story based on her ancestors, Loftin family, of four sisters and a brother: Virginia (Ginny) the writer, Alice (Mae) the teacher, Anne (Bess) the milliner, Alevia the concert pianist, and Franklin the salesman. Belle époque of NYC comes alive through the Society gatherings of many artists and writers textured with music played on the piano setting a very atmospheric background to already alive scene of hopeful artists, musicians and writers; reflecting an era of hope and joy. The author brings a story based on her ancestors, Loftin family, of four sisters and a brother: Virginia (Ginny) the writer, Alice (Mae) the teacher, Anne (Bess) the milliner, Alevia the concert pianist, and Franklin the salesman. A family of talented artists. It is set during a time, when “most men still believe that music is a profession that should exclude women.” A time when “women writers weren’t often considered by publishing houses unless they had a connection.” But Alevia and Ginny remain hopeful to make their mark. Bronx, 1891: Ginny has been in love with Charlie since childhood. At a party, when Charlie is about to propose, Ginny is about to say yes. But when Charlie asks Rachel Kent to marry him, Ginny is crushed. Afterwards, she is so heartbroken that she pours her heart and soul into writing. She writes for the Bronx Review. And when she can’t stop writing, she writes about Charlie and all the things she’d always hoped for in their future. When she is done, she’d written a book – “about imagined adventures overseas, a pleasant domestic life surrounded by family and art, and finally, a parting at death that made her ache.” Her brother introduces Ginny to his best friend John, who hosts the Society of artists and writers at his mansion on Fifth Avenue. She is amazed at “the number of men and women sharing ideas, respecting each other’s art.” It fills her with even more hope. Something happens at the mansion belonging to John and Ginny’s world is shuttered once again. I’m very surprised to see an average rating of this book below 3.5 on Goodreads as it is a very enjoyable read presented through likeable characters, some more ambitious than the others, and some content with what they have. Written with eloquence and skill, with a very good and steady pace. There are some unexpected twists toward the end, but even without those turns, the read would have been and is absorbing. @FB/BestHistoricalFiction

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Henning

    I read an early version of this and it is MAGICAL.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    3.5 “In the pages of a book, a person could become immortal.” “It speaks to a rare but beautiful truth: that how, out of incomparable loss, some of the most brilliant art emerged.” One of my favorite things about a novel is when I get lost in the world it takes place in. What a place for artists it was in New York before the turn on the century! Women coming into their own, artists looking to find a place in the world and the world ever so starting to change. I really enjoyed getting an inside loo 3.5 “In the pages of a book, a person could become immortal.” “It speaks to a rare but beautiful truth: that how, out of incomparable loss, some of the most brilliant art emerged.” One of my favorite things about a novel is when I get lost in the world it takes place in. What a place for artists it was in New York before the turn on the century! Women coming into their own, artists looking to find a place in the world and the world ever so starting to change. I really enjoyed getting an inside look of the artist world and the famous drop ins (like one from Oscar Wilde). I also really enjoyed learning more about Callaway’s research and the women she based these characters off of. The variety of characters was entertaining (and let’s just say I had some strong emotions about one or two of the characters!) and how fascinating it would have been to live with such talented family members! I thought Virginia’s journey was an honest one, even if it was hard to watch sometimes. The cards she was dealt weren’t the best, but she pressed on, stumbling along the way and was able to use that to create beautiful stories. There’s a lesson in that for all of us. Certain pieces of the novel towards the end were a bit unexpected and not my favorite, but I applaud Callaway for doing something different. This is a promising debut and I look forward to more stories from Joy! What’s a debut you’ve read this year? (This was a summer pick for SheReads.org. Thank you to She Reads and Harper for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review) http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/08/...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elise Hooper

    This story immersed me into the world of four ambitious sisters navigating New York society during the Gilded Age. Wonderful historical details! I love that this novel is based on the author's own family history. This story immersed me into the world of four ambitious sisters navigating New York society during the Gilded Age. Wonderful historical details! I love that this novel is based on the author's own family history.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aurelie

    Until the end, I don't know what to think about the book..I have truely loved the story, the characters (Charlie) but there is something that I can't explain who makes me feel unsatisfied. This says that remains a good book and the end is perfect ! <3 Until the end, I don't know what to think about the book..I have truely loved the story, the characters (Charlie) but there is something that I can't explain who makes me feel unsatisfied. This says that remains a good book and the end is perfect ! <3

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    got sucked in by a pretty cover and an interesting blurb. I'm not sure it's living up to my expectations. got sucked in by a pretty cover and an interesting blurb. I'm not sure it's living up to my expectations.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Suzan

    I really liked this book but towards the end it went in a direction I didn't care for. I really liked this book but towards the end it went in a direction I didn't care for.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I love this book! Obviously! :) :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Virginia Loften knows one day she will be a famous author like her hero, Washington Irving, and her best friend Charlie will be a famous artist. She knows this as well as she knows one day she will marry Charlie. Ginny knows this with all the assurance of a seven year old girl. By the age of 22, Ginny and her sisters and brother Franklin are supporting their widowed mother with their artistic endeavors. Their father left them plenty of love but very little money. The Loftin siblings are happy th Virginia Loften knows one day she will be a famous author like her hero, Washington Irving, and her best friend Charlie will be a famous artist. She knows this as well as she knows one day she will marry Charlie. Ginny knows this with all the assurance of a seven year old girl. By the age of 22, Ginny and her sisters and brother Franklin are supporting their widowed mother with their artistic endeavors. Their father left them plenty of love but very little money. The Loftin siblings are happy though and willing to work hard at what they love, except for oldest sister Bess who believes she is a lady born and a lady she shall be. Ginny never dreamed her plans would be altered until Charlie proposes to another woman out of necessity. Ginny pours her anguish into writing a love story for the ages but is it good enough to publish? When her brother introduces her to his best friend John, a fellow writer, John invites them to his Fifth Avenue artists' salon where Ginny meets a number of artistic men and women. Among her new friends are Tom, a brooding writer and his sister Lydia, who is a special friend of Franklin's. These new friends encourage Ginny's literary efforts and help her on her road to publishing. Some of their comments sting, but she is willing to work to make it better. Then Charlie reenters her life and Ginny's feelings are confused. John cares for her deeply but what about Charlie? Then one night, shocking secrets are revealed that will change the Loftins lives forever. This is an Edith Wharton-esque drama set in Gilded Age New York. Edith makes a brief cameo in the novel, set before she became a famous writer. However, the writing doesn't live up to the promise of the story and in no way resembles Edith Wharton's style. Rich, poor, drama, passion, intrigue, romance, art- it has all the hallmarks of a PBS Masterpiece drama. Ginny tells her story but doesn't allow the reader to become fully engaged with her. She tells us how much she loves Charlie and how much he has broken her heart, etc. etc. She tells us she shut herself up to work on her novel and tells us everything else. All that telling makes the first half of the book very very slow and doesn't really allow the reader to become integrated into the story. The period details aren't bad but the characters spend a lot of time discussing whether a husband would allow them to pursue their art. That's one thing that keeps coming back over and over and gets tiring after awhile. Just seeing one married character and her interactions with her husband was enough to get the characters wondering and show the reader what they were thinking. The epilogue was weird and unnecessary. The plot is intriguing. I could have cared less about the romantic entanglements but I wanted to know what happened. The plot picks up halfway through and I was mildly interested in whether Ginny would become published so soon. Then BAM - a shocking plot twist and the book became difficult to put down. I had to skip ahead to find out what happened. One of the secrets is very very shocking and completely crazy by our standards. I wasn't totally surprised- there were clues but how it all went down and to whom was the real shocker. There was another secret that wasn't a huge surprise at all. There was a big clue and Ginny, as Franklin's twin, should have known. Ginny claims Frank is her best friend and they're supposed to be twins but that relationship gets dropped in the middle and by the time the drama happens, it seems like they're just siblings who don't know each other well. I thought twins would be able to sense when one is in trouble or something- at least in a story like this one. This plot twist made the story a little too dark for me. The characters were largely unlikable. Ginny's manner of telling the story didn't really endear me to her and her reactions and interactions with other characters just didn't make her appealing. I wanted to like her because I thought she would be like Jo March, one of my favorite literary heroines, but she's not. The Loftin sibling I hated the most was Bess. She and Ginny didn't get along and I didn't care for Bess for the same reasons Ginny didn't. I liked Mae the best because she had a passion, drive and still managed to be compassionate and caring towards her family. I also liked Alevia and her deep passion for music and lack of interest in marriage. I just thought it was a little strange how she was so obsessed with music and didn't do or think of much else. I had some compassion for Charlie in the beginning but he turned into a selfish idiot and I didn't want him to succeed with Ginny. I didn't like Tom but he didn't deserve Ginny's rudeness. I didn't get that he was any more or less arrogant than any other artist at the salon. Lydia got on my nerves and I felt John was insincere and too dramatic. The story is loosely based on the author's family history and would have made a better biography. The plot was a little too dark and dramatic for my personal taste. Content: Touching breast (twice), hiking skirt up to legs while kissing a man one man has a reputation as a ladies' man (view spoiler)[Drug use and overdose (hide spoiler)]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    First, a warning: I had things "to do" today; I intended to read just a chapter, maybe three -- but once I started this novel, I couldn't put it down. The book opens with a familiar scenario: girl loves boy, boy proposes marriage to someone else. This problem of unrequited love --or, perhaps more accurately, unsatisfied love -- frames the narrative but does not serve as the central tension for the novel. The book's protagonist deals with more complex, though still universal issues -- family strif First, a warning: I had things "to do" today; I intended to read just a chapter, maybe three -- but once I started this novel, I couldn't put it down. The book opens with a familiar scenario: girl loves boy, boy proposes marriage to someone else. This problem of unrequited love --or, perhaps more accurately, unsatisfied love -- frames the narrative but does not serve as the central tension for the novel. The book's protagonist deals with more complex, though still universal issues -- family strife, class warfare, drug culture, gender inequality, just to name a few. I was drawn in by the layered conflicts in the book, but I could have just as easily fallen in love with the book based upon the writing alone -- the prose is gorgeous, packed with images that transport you back to 19th century New York. I felt like I was immersed in an American Midnight in Paris. The book, too, becomes all the more fascinating after reading the author's note at the conclusion of the novel: the book is based upon the author's artist ancestors and their histories. Truly, this book was a gift to read -- well worth clearing an afternoon for!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway for an honest review. Set in the late 1800s in NYC, the story focuses on a family of artists. Having lost their father, each of the children must do their part to support the family. Told through the voice of Virginia, "Ginny", a writer with lofty dreams of being a published novelist. The novel begins with Ginny being jilted by Charlie, a boy she grew up with and was passionately in love with. Trying to overcome her broken heart she begins to visit J I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway for an honest review. Set in the late 1800s in NYC, the story focuses on a family of artists. Having lost their father, each of the children must do their part to support the family. Told through the voice of Virginia, "Ginny", a writer with lofty dreams of being a published novelist. The novel begins with Ginny being jilted by Charlie, a boy she grew up with and was passionately in love with. Trying to overcome her broken heart she begins to visit John Harper's home on Fifth Ave. to socialize with upcoming artists, musicians and writers. While I appreciated the glimpse into the struggles of a woman trying to make a name for themselves in a man's world, the first half of the book dragged for me. Fortunately the second half of the book had more demension, development and conflict, making the story more satisfying. 3.5 stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    As anyone who's followed my reviews knows, I'm not a fan of single, first-person POV stories in general. But this book was one of the rare exceptions! I was thoroughly captivated by this Gilded Age tale and particularly excited to know it was inspired by the author's own ancestors. Fiction based on real life is my favorite! The writing was solid and the characters very well developed. The only downsides for me were the heroine's reticence about her beaus, which felt a bit passive-aggressive at t As anyone who's followed my reviews knows, I'm not a fan of single, first-person POV stories in general. But this book was one of the rare exceptions! I was thoroughly captivated by this Gilded Age tale and particularly excited to know it was inspired by the author's own ancestors. Fiction based on real life is my favorite! The writing was solid and the characters very well developed. The only downsides for me were the heroine's reticence about her beaus, which felt a bit passive-aggressive at times, and the ending, which didn't quite tie up enough threads for me. Still, a highly engrossing tale and an author I'll be keeping tabs on in the future! My full review will be posted on Fiction411.com soon!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison Bliss

    Joy Callaway's prose spins a historical tale but maintains a modern feel that gives a reader a sense of timeless beauty. This is a wonderfully written story that pulls you in from the beginning and holds you tight all the way to the end with sensible, believable characters inspired by the author's ancestors, a whimsical writing voice, and an always intriguing plot. ***I read an early draft of this novel and fell in love. Joy Callaway's prose spins a historical tale but maintains a modern feel that gives a reader a sense of timeless beauty. This is a wonderfully written story that pulls you in from the beginning and holds you tight all the way to the end with sensible, believable characters inspired by the author's ancestors, a whimsical writing voice, and an always intriguing plot. ***I read an early draft of this novel and fell in love.

  23. 5 out of 5

    JenniferD

    3 ½-stars, if we could do that here. this was a good escapist read for me. there were some things that niggled at me a bit, but i was fairly transported by the era, characters, and settings to still really enjoy this story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I liked the concept and the setting of this book and many of the characters were interesting, the problem was with the main characters, I think. Ginnie never really comes off the page like her siblings do. The post-Charlie love interest too seems wooden. I think there is a lot of lost potential here that never gets well-developed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This came highly recommended by a friend. The story sounds good and I love the time period. But there is too much description and unnecessary dialogue that goes on for pages without anything really happening. I find myself skimming and trying to find when something is going to happen. So, at nearly 100 pages I'm putting this one aside. This came highly recommended by a friend. The story sounds good and I love the time period. But there is too much description and unnecessary dialogue that goes on for pages without anything really happening. I find myself skimming and trying to find when something is going to happen. So, at nearly 100 pages I'm putting this one aside.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wing (bibliomeds)

    this book left a mark on my heart. it messed up my feelings i knew something was stirring but wow wing-yee is in awe my heart is literally pounding upon finishing it so beautiful and daring can't decide whether it's a 4/4.5 star read. but gonna be recommending this to a lot of my pals now. song that i am playing on repeat: back to you by selena gomez this book left a mark on my heart. it messed up my feelings i knew something was stirring but wow wing-yee is in awe my heart is literally pounding upon finishing it so beautiful and daring can't decide whether it's a 4/4.5 star read. but gonna be recommending this to a lot of my pals now. song that i am playing on repeat: back to you by selena gomez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    I had a difficult time getting into this book; it finally got interesting about half way through. The story line appealed to me; a place where talented people interested in writing, painting and music could come together to share their ideas. This was done in Paris but not in New York. The time was the late 1800's after the Civil War and a time when life was moving on. Young Ginny her brother Frank and the neighbor, Charlie grew up together in the Bronx. Ginny was the writer and Charlie the artist. I had a difficult time getting into this book; it finally got interesting about half way through. The story line appealed to me; a place where talented people interested in writing, painting and music could come together to share their ideas. This was done in Paris but not in New York. The time was the late 1800's after the Civil War and a time when life was moving on. Young Ginny her brother Frank and the neighbor, Charlie grew up together in the Bronx. Ginny was the writer and Charlie the artist. Frank sometimes dabble in art but he was out to make a fortune for his mother and sisters. Ginny always loved Charlie and though right up to the moment he proposed to another girl that they would some day marry. Needless to say her heart is broken! Ginny goes with Frank to the Society meeting in Manhattan and its the beginning of a new learning process for her. One that is beneficial and devastating.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Gargoyle

    I received a copy of this title from Allen & Unwin for review. DNF at 37 pages (Chapter 4) Ten Second Synopsis: Virginia is a writer and in love with Charlie, the boy next door, but he proposes to another. I could have probably found myself enjoying this if I didn’t have a whole bunch of books lying around waiting to be read, honestly, but overall this one was a bit too out-of-period for me. I prefer my historical fiction from this era to be British rather than American. There were a few turns of p I received a copy of this title from Allen & Unwin for review. DNF at 37 pages (Chapter 4) Ten Second Synopsis: Virginia is a writer and in love with Charlie, the boy next door, but he proposes to another. I could have probably found myself enjoying this if I didn’t have a whole bunch of books lying around waiting to be read, honestly, but overall this one was a bit too out-of-period for me. I prefer my historical fiction from this era to be British rather than American. There were a few turns of phrase in the dialogue and in the general writing that hit me as slightly out of place, but again, if I was an ordinary reader who read one book at a time, I may have found more to enjoy here. This one is a victim of just not being my thing. But it might be yours!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linniegayl

    I read this for review at All About Romance and gave it a B-, so 4 stars here. I wrote: I long for books that capture my interest from the first, and hold my attention so that I avoid doing almost anything else until I finish. I didn’t dislike The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, but it was at times an uncomfortable read and I found it easy to put down. But since finishing, I’ve found myself thinking about the characters and doing research about the time period and settings. ..... For more of my rev I read this for review at All About Romance and gave it a B-, so 4 stars here. I wrote: I long for books that capture my interest from the first, and hold my attention so that I avoid doing almost anything else until I finish. I didn’t dislike The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, but it was at times an uncomfortable read and I found it easy to put down. But since finishing, I’ve found myself thinking about the characters and doing research about the time period and settings. ..... For more of my review go to: http://likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookRev...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Talk Supe

    3.5 stars This is very reminiscent of Little Women with the tale's core focused on the siblings, their dreams, disappointments, love affairs, victories, and failures. Towards the last third the story took a dark and tragic twist that devastated everyone. It's the ending that I didn't love. It's not bad, it's very realistic actually, the resolution is so true to human nature and if I were caught in the same situation, I think it would play out close to how it happened here. Yet as this is fiction, 3.5 stars This is very reminiscent of Little Women with the tale's core focused on the siblings, their dreams, disappointments, love affairs, victories, and failures. Towards the last third the story took a dark and tragic twist that devastated everyone. It's the ending that I didn't love. It's not bad, it's very realistic actually, the resolution is so true to human nature and if I were caught in the same situation, I think it would play out close to how it happened here. Yet as this is fiction, I was hoping for full closure.

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