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The Ghost of Madison Avenue

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A Christmas Novella in Old New York

In this compelling and poignant story, bestselling author Nancy Bilyeau takes readers to New York City’s Morgan Library in December 1912, when two very different people haunted by lost love come together in an unexpected way.

Helen O’Neill, part of a tight-knit Irish-American family in the Bronx, is only too happy to report to work at the
Kindle Edition, 108 pages
Published December 11th 2019 by Amazon
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Nancy Bilyeau
Dec 13, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
A Ghost Story Touching the Heart

I really enjoyed writing an eerie story, and with my longtime love of ghost stories like The Turn of the Screw and of course A Christmas Carol, it was pure pleasure to take a turn at this. I also adore the Morgan Museum and writing about this beautiful and in some ways mysterious place was also a delight. All the research for this book was fun! But for a novella I didn't expect to dive this deep into the main character, Helen O'Neill, and her family, the
Max Eastern
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What I think is most interesting about this book is that it's about a family, an Irish Amercan family living in the Bronx in 1912 when the Irish were a dominant group in NYC, and all the details are real. It feels like fully developed people in a 100 page book. The descriptions of the Morgan Library are excellent, coming from someone who has been there. The mystery around JP Morgan is very intriguing. But it's the characters of the Connolly family that make this story memorable. The marriage of ...more
Ruth Chatlien
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nancy Bilyeau has created a small gem of a Christmas ghost story that can be devoured in one sitting. In 1912, Helen, a grieving widow with uncanny gifts, lands the seemingly perfect job of conserving treasures at the Morgan Library. Yet, her time there fills her with unexplained dread that makes her wonder what’s going on beneath the surface. What awaits her is a transformative brush with the supernatural in the time-honored tradition of A Christmas Carol.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting history and enjoyed the characters
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A nice holiday book. Interesting story involving JP Morgan and his library set at Christmastime, 1912., with a little mystery and a touch of the supernatural.
Davida Chazan
I don't usually read fantasy or ghost stories, but how could I resist something from Nancy Bilyeau written just for this season? This one is sure to be a winner for lovers of this genre, and you can find out why through my review here.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is 1912 in New York City, and the young widow Helen O'Neill takes the train every morning from her apartment in the Bronx where she lives with her siblings to her work as an antique manuscript expert in the gorgeous library of J.P. Morgan. Unusually gifted, she keeps her grief of the loss of her husband hidden. One day she leaves the library and sees a beautiful young woman standing in only a light dress in the falling snow....and shortly after, comes to realize that the crusty old Morgan ...more
Susan Peterson
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A ghost story that touches the heart—that’s precisely what author Nancy Bilyeau has given us with this compelling novella! Helen O’Neill is a wonderful character, a widow still grieving for the husband she lost many years earlier, with talented hands that land her in the sumptuous library of J.P. Morgan. When she encounters an ethereal young woman on the streets of NY, it opens her mind and her heart to the impossible. I loved the family in this book, Helen’s brothers and sisters, as well as her ...more
gwendalyn _books_
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Can’t wait to to read this!!
Debra Hill
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this story. It is so well written and just a pleasure to read. My book club likes to read a Christmas book in December so I picked up this novella. What a wonderful find! I loved the story, set in the Gilded Age in NYC, with its mixture of history and the otherworld. Once I started to read it, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this novella.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Gilded Age has always been a fascination for me and I consider New York City the center stage of the era for the most part. The era brings us impressive architecture and bigger than life people who inspired greatness. Morgan Library and the man who brought us its glory plays part in this glamorous and magical story.

Bilyeau brings us a new tale of not only J.P. Morgan and is magnificent library and museum but what seems an other-worldly Irish-American lady, Helen O’ Neil. Helen is hired by
Michele Koop
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest from Nancy Bilyeau. The novella really captures the beauty of the Morgan, which I’ve been to on numerous occasions. I totally got engrossed and read this in one sitting, wanting to know the mystery of the ghost, almost as much as the protagonist Helen. It’s great to also see real people like JP Morgan portrayed. There are a lot of interesting references to and visuals of great art, and Madison Avenue of 1912 really comes alive. It’s not like the Madison Avenue of ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those little gems that I come across once in a while. It was such an enjoyable read that just pulled me along. I like to read ghost stories (not gory, scary ones!) as well as mysteries and this one was a bit of both. I liked everything about this book -- the characters, the story, the locale and, of course, the ghosts. Very satisfying ending. I plan to pick up her next book (Dreamland) in January. I am sure I will enjoy it.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of Nancy Bilyeau's previous works, as a New Yorker, and as an admirer of the Morgan Museum, this story pushed all my buttons. I was still smiling after I read the last page.
Ginger Pollard
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing

An enjoyable ghost story for Christmas (or any time of year) which takes place at the turn of the century, known as the Gilded Age. A short novella that can be read in one sitting. If this is your first Nancy Bilyeau book, it won't be your last. Her books are well written, well researched and take the reader to a different time. I've enjoyed all of them and highly recommend them.
Maria Quintas
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting story that opened my mind to another time

I thought I was going to read this book in one sitting and be done with it. But it didn’t work out that way, and I am thrilled about that! Almost from the first few pages I started seeking more info about the historical characters, the location, the current museum, the history of the library, the people involved directly and indirectly etc. Starting with the amazing true lives of Richard Greener and his daughter Belle Da Costa Greene
Rosanne Lortz
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Helen O'Neill has a gift, a lightness and quickness about her hands that seems otherworldly--a great contrast to the heaviness in her heart over her lost husband. When her talent for restoring artifacts is observed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Helen is whisked away to work at J.P. Morgan's personal library. The ornate building with its precious manuscripts is awe-inspiring, but even more jaw-dropping is the mysterious young woman who keeps appearing on Madison Avenue outside. Wearing an ...more
Gaye mack
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Perfect Story for the Holiday Season

Once again Nancy Bilyeau brings characters alive who give us a peek into history, this time taking us back to Christmas 1912 New York, through the eyes of Helen O'Neill. Helen, a young widow with an unusual gift, ends up working in JP Morgan's private library, a world away from her Irish roots. Unexpectedly, Helen discovers she and Morgan himself share a bond of help from the unseen world in transforming their individual grief for partners lost. Filled with
Janet DeCastro
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Helen O'Neill, a young Irish American widow living with her family in the Bronx has been offered the job of a lifetime. Stolen away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to work at J.P. Morgan's private library, for her skilled hands, in "reading" what restorations are needed on artifacts. But with her Irish background the child Helen received hints from her mother that she had a gift - from the faeries - to hide it so that she was never exploited. The story occurs at Christmas
Marie Parsons
I read Nancy Bilyeau's Joanna Stafford trilogy a few years ago and enjoyed it so much I anticipated enjoying this novella. I was not disappointed. The world-buildng of 1912 Manhattan, its trains, its neighborhoods, the then newly-opening Morgan Library--marvelously done. Characters are complex and very real: Helen, the protagonist, compares herself less than favorably to Bella, so endearingly. The widowed Helena could be an extraordinary woman, but is instead told to hide what could make her ...more
Susan Wands
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Nancy Bilyeau’s novella, The Ghost of Madison Ave, is delightful story which takes place in the Morgan library in New York City at the turn of the century. Historically fascinating and meticulously researched, the book tells the story of a young woman working in the private library of J.P. Morgan. Although I read it in one sitting, the story has stayed with me and I found myself going back to read passages. There is fascinating content not not only the library but living in New York City in the ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really liked the Gilded Age/ Morgan Library setting. Wish this had been a longer story in the telling, because there were a lot of moving parts. I would have liked to linger on the events of the later part of the story, though the flashback format does a good job of creating the suspenseful mood right away.
Marjorie Brown
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved following Helen O’Neill's story while she worked at JP Morgan's library . I found myself going back and forth to see what the area looks like now versus how it was in 1912. What a wonderful journey. I'm excited to begin The Blue and Dreamland. I've also enjoyed the Joanna Stafford trilogy as well.
Mary Bronson
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Christmas Ghost

I thought this was such a great novella. I loved the characters and plot of the story. Once I got started it was hard to put down. Reading the author's note it was interesting to read that Helen's employer J.P. Morgan was a real person. Now I want to learn more about him.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written story of love, grief and family. I love historical fiction and Nancy Bilyeau brings all her hard work of research to life in beautifully written story of The Gilded Age with a touch of The O'Neill on Tullyhouge! I love how the stories blend together and how the Ghost of Madison Avenue helps Helen find her way.
A story about the Morgan Library.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing tale

Ms. Bilyeau's novella is a captivating read. She is skilled at immersing her fictional characters into well-researched historical setting, creating a believable, intriguing tale. I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Ghost of Madison Avenue" and am looking forward to the upcoming release of "Dreamland."
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or stories with a spiritual element.
Cindy Woods
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Entrancing novella!

I absolutely love Bilyeau's style of writing. This story set in 1912 New York City about a middle-aged widow who begins employment at J.P. Morgan's private library has a very creative plot.

The descriptions of life in New York City and the famous Morgan library during this period of the Gilded Age are lifelike and brought this reader immediately into that era. I felt as if I were there as scenes are described through the eyes of the Irish Mrs. O'Neill even as she flashes back
Vicki Kondelik
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written Christmas ghost story, in the tradition of A Christmas Carol, set in 1912 New York, by Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Blue and Dreamland. Helen O'Neill, a widow in her thirties living with her Irish American family, the Connollys, in the Bronx, works as an art restorer at J.P. Morgan's library. Belle da Costa Greene, the librarian (an amazing woman in real life), hires her away from the Metropolitan Museum because of her incredible gift with her hands. Helen is a ...more
Doug Solter
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Ghost of Madison Avenue is more than a simple ghost tale. And it's not your standard haunted-museum-look-behind-the-scary-door ghost story you've seen done a thousand times. No, the Ghost of Madison Avenue is a personal novella about loss and rebirth. A woman's struggle with her sanity set inside the personal museum of financial titan J.P. Morgan, one of the most influential men in the early 20th century. If you enjoy reading moving personal stories set among historical settings and ...more
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Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has worked as an editor at "Rolling Stone," "InStyle," and "Good Housekeeping."

Her new historical novel is "Dreamland," set in 1911 New York City and telling the story of a rebellious heiress who escapes from her over protective family to experience the delights of Coney IIsland--but there are dangers too. The novel has received starred reviews from