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The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,247 ratings  ·  239 reviews
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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Harper Paperbacks
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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,247 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Diane S ☔
May 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 27, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Cindy Burnett
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
nikkia neil
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, art
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
Kim Wright
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
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!
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was incredible charming, I loved the feel of this, but Virginia was awfully annoying at times.
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
Sarah Henning
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of this and it is MAGICAL.
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
“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
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Elise Hooper
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 01, 2016 marked it as sampled-not-finished-abandoned
got sucked in by a pretty cover and an interesting blurb. I'm not sure it's living up to my expectations.
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I really liked this book but towards the end it went in a direction I didn't care for.
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 ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
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
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comps
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 ...more
Alison Bliss
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I love this book! Obviously! :) :)
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
3 -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.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
Wing (bibliomeds)
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book left a mark on my heart.
it messed up my feelings
i knew something was stirring but
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
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
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
Talk Supe
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
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,
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-other
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
Denise Altman
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great story! I found myself a little annoyed with the main character at times, but that was because she was well written. Interesting enough to make me start searching for more details about this particular era and some of the situations the characters experienced. Lots of nice details allowed me to build a great mental picture of the various settings and the people themselves.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Dec 03, 2015 09:02AM  

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