The Fifth Avenue Story Society

(I’m sorry not to have a “Laudable Linkage” post today. I just haven’t had time this week to do much online reading. But I did finish an audiobook I wanted to share.)

In Rachel Hauck’s novel, The Fifth Avenue Story Society, five New Yorkers receive a mysterious invitation to join said society at the library on Fifth Avenue.

Lexa is an executive assistant to the owner and originator of a growing fast food chain. She came up with her boss from the early days of the company to bring it into the limelight it enjoys now. Since she practically fulfills the CEO role, she pushes for that position. But her boss holds her off.

Jett is a college professor grieving over the loss of a marriage in which he’s not quite sure what went wrong. He’s writing his dissertation on his favorite author, determined to quell suspicions that the author is a fraud. But he secretly harbors his own doubts.

Chuck is an Uber driver. His angry response when he discovered his wife was cheating led her to acquire a temporary restraining order. Now he just wants to see his kids and be part of their lives.

Coral is the heiress and president of the multi-million dollar cosmetics company her grandmother founded. Coral became known publicly as the “panicked princess” when she fled her marriage to a prince at the last minute. And her first new product seems to be tanking, despite all the early promising test results.

Ed is an aging retired newspaper man. Now an apartment building superintendent, all he wants to do with his remaining time is write his memoir about his wonderful wife and the love they had together before she died.

When the five meet for the first time, no one knows who sent the invitation or why. After their initial wariness, curiosity and the need for friendship encourages them to continue.

Each is a wounded soul. Each has a dark, guarded secret they are not willing to share with the others. But as they get to know one another and their lives entwine, can they trust each other enough to share their deepest selves?

I had read only one Rachel Hauck novel before about nine years ago, and on purpose had not read her again. In that case, the story was mostly okay, but some of the writing grated. I did not see those problems with writing in this book. I enjoyed the characters’ stories quite a lot.

The one thing I didn’t like in this book was references to some of the characters’ intimate lives. There are no explicit sex scenes, but there are more references than I am comfortable with.

I’m also wary when both the author and one of her characters claim that God spoke audibly to them.

Also, each book had one mysterious character. The one in the previous book struck me as something of a fairy godfather. The one here merges as something akin to an angel in disguise, but is more likeable and believable than the character in the previous book I read. I don’t know if such characters are a hallmark of all this author’s books.

I had thought at first that this was a Christian fiction book, then thought that it wasn’t. But late in the story, one character does share her faith journey.

I’m left with mixed emotions. The overall story and the emerging of each character’s situation were very good. I was caught up in their lives and hoping for the best resolution for each of them. But some of these other elements put me off.

3 thoughts on “The Fifth Avenue Story Society

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