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.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauck.
Read an Excerpt
AUGUST IN MANHATTAN
Well this was a fine mess. Spending the night in Central Booking for instigating a fight at a wedding reception. What was he thinking?
He glanced at his sore hand through the dull light beaming in from the hallway fluorescents and flexed his fingers, wincing at the pain swelling from his bruised flesh.
He hadn't thrown so many punches since he was a boy in Chappaqua wrestling with his brother.
The next time he got an invitation, especially a wedding invitation, he'd RSVP with a big fat no.
Though he could hardly blame the invitation. He alone earned this all-expenses-paid night in holding. For defending a bridesmaid from a drunken groomsman.
Yet he was no hero.
Jett Wilder, associate professor of English at the prestigious New York College, lover of words and literature and the occasional ride through class-five rapids, was a criminal.
Perhaps criminal was an exaggeration. Nonetheless, he'd been cuffed, read his rights, hauled off in a paddy wagon, and thrown behind bars, where he spent a long, odiferous night with drug dealers, pimps, drunks, petty thieves, and civil violators.
So he too was counted among the transgressors.
What happened to him? He deplored violence, prided himself on diplomacy and statesmanship.
Rising from the bench where he sat next to the big guy, who had also jumped into the fight, Jett made his way to the iron bars.
The cell's shadowy confinement robbed his sense of time. Had he been here for one hour or five? The booking officer took every time-keeping device he owned — watch and phone — before leading him away to rot.
However, by the rumble in his belly, the hour was well past breakfast.
He gripped the bars and fought a wave of claustrophobia. He wanted out. But he deserved to be here. In fact, for the rest of his life, anything that came his way, he'd deserve.
Divorced? Deserved it. On the rocks with his boss? Deserved it. Tense relationship with his parents? De-served.
What was it about being locked up that made a man assess his life? Besides the jailhouse smells and chorus of snores and moans?
"Hello?" Jett pressed against the gray, flaking bars. "Hey, does a guy get a phone call around here?" If he used his, he'd forgotten.
Last night was not one for the memory books.
"You refused your phone call." The big guy came alongside and threaded his arms through the steel squares. "Nice punch you threw at the Harness-Neville wedding."
"I'd say thanks for giving me a hand, but look where we landed."
Big Guy offered his hand. "Chuck Mays. Uber driver. Civil offender. The dude had it coming."
Jett clapped his palm against Chuck's. "Jett Wilder. Associate professor of English, NYC. Civil offender."
"If I need a witness that you started it, can I count on you?" Chuck's somber request was accented by his swollen and protruding lower lip. "Even though you were pretty lit?"
Jett pressed his fingers to his throbbing temple. "I don't drink much."
"Then why were you knocking them down like water last night?"
"I'm not a fan of weddings."
"Same." Chuck linked his thick fingers together around the bars.
Jett glanced at him. "You a friend of the bride or groom?"
"Groom. Went to high school together in Jersey. You?"
"Bride. She's a colleague."
The men jutted chins toward each other as some sort of grunted acceptance.
"So, if you don't like weddings and you don't drink, what happened last night?" Chuck said.
"Long week. What about you? Why'd you jump in?" Weddings agitated Jett as much as alcohol. The two together? Disaster.
Jett laughed. "Eight days?"
"Without the Beatles singing background."
"I'm on the same calendar."
"This will cost me." Chuck gripped his hands into fists and the line of his jaw was taut with tension.
"Both of us. I expect a bill from the bride's father."
"That? So what? This will cost me more than ... Did they read you the charges?"
Jett pointed to his head. "Took me a minute when I woke up to figure out why I was in here."
Chuck relaxed his hands. "Disorderly conduct. Public intoxication. Assault." His composure changed as he rattled off the charges. His voice rattled with anger. "Stupid, stupid, stupid —"
Stupid was one word for it. Jett should've stayed home.
Apologized to the bride, Jenn, after the fact.
"I wanted to come, but weddings —"
But weddings what? Reminded him of what he'd lost? Awakened the heartache he'd finally put to rest?
Yet he couldn't go through life hiding from the happiness of others. Besides, being on faculty at the illustrious, private, elite New York College came with certain obligations. He'd be considered aloof and unsupportive if he avoided Jenn's nuptials.
And he sort of owed her. She had listened to his sob stories when his wife walked out, and rallied the rest of the faculty around him. Attending her wedding was the least he could do.
It was any man's guess how much the reception damage would set him back. A lot more than a humble apology.
"That groomsman was a piece of work." Jett glanced around to see Chuck pacing in tight circles, muttering to himself. "The brides-maid told him to leave her alone, what? A dozen times? This will ruin me."
Jett recognized the underlying darkness in Chuck's expression, shadowed even more by his dark, hooded eyes.
"Ruin me." His reply came fast and hot. "She'll find out. She will. I'll lose them."
Chuck sat on a bench someone had vacated for the toilet and covered his face with his wide hands.
"Seems ironic, doesn't it?" Jett walked over and patted his stone-hard shoulder. Once. "The two of us behind bars for defending a bridesmaid's honor while the offender walks free. What happened to chivalry?"
The big guy never raised his head.
"You okay?" Jett angled forward to see his face.
"No." Chuck stood, rising to his full height. Hard to believe he folded himself into an Uber job all day. "I've probably ruined my life."
"Come on, can't be as bad as all that, man. A tussle at a wedding reception." He cheered himself as much as Chuck. "Nothing more than a civil violation." Surely such a petty crime wouldn't ruin anyone's life. "We'll pay a fine and go home."
"You don't understand. I can't afford anything like this." Chuck touched a laceration on his cheek. "You throw a mean punch."
"Don't be. I should've kept my nose out of it." Chuck pointed to his knuckles, then Jett's. "You're pretty banged up. Will this get you in trouble with your college?"
"Not sure." Jett extended his fingers once more against the swelling and aching.
His knuckles were scraped and bruised, and when he ran his hand along his jaw, he grazed one cut, then another. When he touched the area around his eye, he winced.
With that Chuck returned to his hunched position, head in his hands.
What else could he say to the guy?
"Yo, Mr. Police Officer?" Jett peered down the corridor for a sign of deliverance.
A fellow inmate roused with a laugh. "You stuck here until they come for you, man."
"What happened to swift justice?"
With a sigh, he sat next to Chuck, his ripped tuxedo collar dangling over his shoulder. He noticed two coat buttons were missing. And his shirt was torn and stained red. Wine. Not blood.
He needed to get home, showered, and to work. Put last night behind him. In the annals of yesterday.
He also had two classes this morning, papers to grade, a dissertation to finalize for publication and present to the Roth Foundation Reception in November. His boss, Renée, the literature department chair, had finally put her foot down. Her words, not his.
"The publication of that dissertation means a great deal to the Roth Foundation and the college, Jett."
Showing up on campus meant he'd have to face Renée. Maybe the English department dean. He hadn't read far enough in the faculty handbook to know what happened to delinquent professors. Especially ones who ruined another professor's wedding.
So, this was life at thirty. A divorced professor who couldn't quite find his footing, his excuses no longer able to belay him.
Losing his brother, Storm, that day on the Eiger mountain was hard enough. But when the one person who made his very breath worthwhile walked out ... well, sometimes it was just too much.
Jett sat back against the wall and succumbed to the fatigue of his two-year journey.
Could he be tired? Just for a moment?
As he exhaled, his eyes drifting closed, a buzzer sounded. A steel door opened and closed.
Jett sat forward, gently rousing Chuck. "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty. I hear footsteps."
"John Wilder and Charles Mays." A uniformed officer swung open the door. "You're free to go. No charges."
Jett shot out with a curt nod. "Thank you, Mr. Jailer." "You're welcome, Mr. Prisoner."
In the precinct house, another officer walked him out, handed him an envelope containing his things — imagine, his most prized possessions fit in a manila envelope — and he bolted for daylight. For freedom.
"Jett Wilder." Chuck followed him down the courthouse steps, his smile burning away his former despondency. "That was lucky. No charges."
"I'll take it." Jett offered the big man a hearty handshake. "Until the next wedding."
"May it be a long time away. And about back there, in the holding cell. I got a bit emotional."
Jett raised his palm. "No need. It was a long day."
Chuck shot him a sideways grin and turned to go. "By the way," he said, coming back around. "Are you any relation to Bear Wilder, the adventure guy?"
"He's my father." Jett walked backward toward the curb.
"Your father. What was that like growing up? And didn't your brother —"
"Chuck." Jett stepped into the street to hail a taxi. If he hurried, he could make his first class. "We spent one night together. Let's make a note in our diaries and in years to come, we'll look back on it fondly."
"Just asking, man." The big guy started off in the opposite direction.
"Sorry, but I'm in a hurry." A cab pulled to the curb. "I have a class in two hours."
"I was going to offer you a ride home. On the house."
"Thanks anyway." Jett slipped into the back of the cab, rattling off his Greenwich Village address.
He dumped the envelope's contents onto the seat and a thick cream-colored card dropped out. He ignored it while he checked his phone for messages — there where forty — and fastened on his watch.
After tucking his wallet into his inside jacket pocket, along with his keys, he examined the card, expecting to find an inventory of the envelope's contents.
Instead, he found an invitation.
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE FIFTH AVENUE STORY SOCIETY. THE FIFTH AVENUE LITERARY SOCIETY LIBRARY THE BOWER ROOM MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 @ 8:00 P.M.
Jett laughed. An invitation? He flipped it over and back. There was no RSVP or return address. This wasn't his.
He'd never even heard of the Fifth Avenue Literary Society Library. And in light of his night in a holding cell, he had no plans to say yes to any invitation any time soon.CHAPTER 2
Getting ahead required courage. All she had to do was muster some from the recesses of her being, walk into Zane's office, and ask. Or better yet, tell him.
"I'm your CEO."
He'd posted the CEO position nine months ago and had yet to interview anyone.
To be honest, on the org chart Lexa was nothing more than Zane Breas's executive assistant. He'd hired her seven years ago when she moved here as a newlywed.
She was fresh out of Florida State business school. He was fresh out of Nebraska launching ZB Burgers, a fast-growing gourmet hamburger chain.
In those lean, early days, there was no organizational chart. From the get-go, Lexa functioned as the executive of the fast-growing ZB Enterprises, the parent company for Manhattan's hottest new restaurant.
At her desk, she ate her power bar while combing through email. Hers as well as Zane's. The coming fall season brought one of their biggest promotional events, Zaney Days.
ZB Burgers in cities such as Manhattan, Miami, Omaha, Dallas, and Denver sponsored a family day of fun and food at a local park.
Last year, videos and pictures from their big bash in Central Park with celebrities mingling with "ordinary" people went viral.
The idea began three years ago as her brainchild to marry food with community, and to expose hamburger connoisseurs in those major markets to the quality and freshness of Zane's family recipes.
And it had been wildly successful.
"Morning." Zane stopped at her desk looking as if he stepped from the pages of GQ. A rich cloud of cologne wafted around him, and the New York Post was tucked under his arm.
"Morning." Lexa stood, covering her mouth with her hand as she swallowed her bite of power bar. "Your iPad is on your desk. We have a Zaney Days meeting at ten." She removed the pen holding her twist of damp hair on top of her head.
"What would I do without you?"
Was he charming? Yes. But his Nebraska farm boy swagger gave him an edge. An "it" factor lacking in most young, Manhattan entrepreneurs.
Everyone loved Zane. And if they didn't love him. They liked him. Respected him.
Lexa considered herself lucky, no, blessed, to be on his team.
After her divorce, work kept her grounded. Sane. Able to breathe when she felt underwater.
Up at five, she exercised, then readied for work, hopping the short subway from her Greenwich Village apartment to ZB's new Tribeca offices by 6:45.
At her desk by 7:05, 7:10 at the latest, she prepped for the day, cleaned up email, shuffled items from her calendar to Zane's and back again, answered messages from managers at their more than twenty locations, and reviewed reports from every department.
If she was acting like a CEO, then she should be the CEO.
Zane arrived a little after eight, after which Lexa took a few minutes to flat-iron her hair in the women's lounge.
And her day was off to the races.
"Do you have the tear sheets from the Forbes article?" Zane walked toward her while scanning his iPad.
"On your desk."
Zane Breas was the latest entrepreneurial wunderkind, and he liked to collect his media clippings.
Once he opened the Forty-Sixth Street store, the business exploded. Now, scrambling to meet the demands of franchisees and cities wanting a ZB Burgers, Lexa had ideas on how to get ZB to the next level.
Which led her back to asking, telling, Zane to make her the CEO. "How was your weekend?" Zane perched on the side of her desk and handed her his iPad, calendar in view. "I don't see Thursday afternoons blocked off."
Lexa glanced at the screen, then handed back the device. "I did.
Last week. You want it blocked off every week?"
"Until further notice, yes." He took a piece of candy from the dish on her desk. "So, good weekend? I don't know how you live in that eight-hundred-square-foot walk-up."
She launched Zane's calendar. "I worked on Saturday. The Zaney Days commercial scripts were all wrong. We're not hiring that marketing group again. Then I slept most of Sunday." Speaking of working on Saturday ... The CEO job would be — "What's going on Thursday afternoons? Don't tell me you're taking up golf again."
He had tried to golf with a couple of pros last year. Ended up hitting a ball into the course's parking lot and smashing the windowof a Lamborghini.
"No. But one of these days, I'm going to master the green." He started for his office and Lexa followed. "Any news on the food cart? I'd love to hit the streets of Manhattan with a portable ZB Burgers stand, see if we can make an alternative style of restaurant for people in big cities."
"One giant to slay at a time, Zane. I moved that project to next year."
He raised a steely gaze to her as he moved behind his desk. "You should ask me before you move things. I am the head of this company."
"And I'm the neck." Her determination locked with his. Steady. Don't break. She exhaled when he flashed his charmed grin.
"My neck is a little stiff right now." He kicked out his chair and sat, flopping the paper open over his laptop and yesterday's coffee cup. Lexa reached for the cup and set it on the corner to take back to the employee kitchen. "I trust you, but let's be sure to address it in January. That cart vendor offered us an amazing deal."
"Did you read the contract? The small print on his maintenance offer was ridiculous." She read every vendor and supplier contract multiple times, on alert for twisted wording and provisional clauses. "By the way, I've made Quent my assistant."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Fifth Avenue Story Society"
Copyright © 2020 Rachel Hauck.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A truly outstanding read. A story of five people whose lives needed a change and how wonderful was the journey that led to the change. This book is a keeper to be reread. I loved it.
The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck This was a curious book. I felt it started out slow but when I felt like the characters were developing the ending was quickly pieced together nice and tidy. The religious awakening of this book was at the end and left a lot of wanting. There was no depth to any of the character's heart change but one. I did find some wisdom from this quote, “If we love when it’s easy, it’s of no credit to us. Anyone can love when it’s easy. But if we love when it’s hard, then we are all the better. We gain what we cannot see.” I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
"Every day we tell, listen to, live and breathe stories." Set in New York City, this interesting mix of characters from different walks of life are brought together by a mysterious invitation to a "Story Society". Their stories unfold and the group quickly forms friendships, helping each other in ways they would have never imagined. There is a connection to the story from The Writing Desk, but the book is a stand alone. "We want to be seen, heard, and loved." This author definitely knows people--with all of their fears, flaws, hopes and dreams--and skillfully draws the reader in to care about this struggling group. Told from their five perspectives, it was easy to follow along as their lives intersected and they began to have a positive impact on each other. They were all stuck because of something in their pasts, preventing them from moving on and fully living. It takes courage to change and overcome some obstacles, and they helped each other in this way. It reminded me of the verse in Proverbs that says, "Iron sharpens iron." We all have a story and never know if ours can help someone else. A touch of divine intervention is at play here, something this author does well, adding a bit of mystery. Some faith and inspirational moments later on interjected a lot of hope. Overall this is a story of second chances, redemption, and love. I wondered how it would all come together, and the ending was definitely worth the wait. Recommend to readers who enjoy contemporary women's fiction with flawed characters and adult romance. 4.5 stars (An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
My favorite Rachel Hauck book yet! A beautiful, heart warming story about five strangers brought together by a mysterious invitation. From the opening pages until long after the last page is turned, this story stays with you. You easily fall in love from with the society members. Each are on a different path in live, from different economic backgrounds, yet come together to form this surprising cluster of friends. None of the society members know why they are there nor just how much they can learn from each other. The stories of Ed, Chuck, Coral, Jett, and Lexa teach us the dangers of unchecked emotions, living in the past, and that living for Christ isn’t always the easy path. As a reader you find yourself gripped by each of their stories and may not even realize the layers they are opening up and peeling away in your own life. I found myself wanting to climb into the book to be a member of The Fifth Avenue Story Society and relax by the fire in the Bower room surrounded by my newfound friends. Ms. Hauck does a magnificent job with her detailed storytelling to make you feel apart of each of their stories. It was a book I hated to see end! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
Five strangers receive a mysterious invitation. Well, three strangers and two estranged exes. Each of them is feeling at the end of their rope, but together—with a bit of divine meddling and intervention—they find the beginning of everything. Rachel Hauck has a gift for weaving together stories and characters that touch the heart and invite readers to contemplate the mysteries of their own lives and faith. The Fifth Avenue Story Society is about rejecting the lies we tell ourselves and daring to find the truth that sets us free. *I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The idea of this book intrigued me since I love books and libraries. Five unsuspecting New Yorkers are invited to a story society meeting in an old library that used to be part of a mansion. The variety of characters drawn together are all troubled, as we learn when they begin to share their stories. With five different points of view and so much going on outside the society meetings, it can be hard to track at first. But readers get to know and care about each of the individuals involved. Their love lives play a major role too. Some are divorced, and I rooted for them to work it out with their former partners because I don’t believe it’s God’s will for divorced people to remarry while their original covenant partner is still living. I did appreciate the faith element in the novel and how God worked in the characters’ lives. They did seem very real. I would not class this as a romance but more general fiction. The author knows how to tell a good tale. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
I liked this book! It was kind of hard to get into it in the beginning but as I read on it got better and better. Five people get an invite from all over the city out of the blue. This story is told in many voices and I enjoyed reading in how they get to know each other and themselves. I loved Coral, Jett, Ed, Lexa and Chuck. Even though some think it's a hoax in how these 5 people got invited I happened to love the story. Yes, it might be far fetched in real life but hey, you know what? I don't really think that's the theme of the story anyway. It's about working through brokenness and having second chances to see if we can do things over the right way again. It's about forgiveness and facing the truth from one another's past. I think it would be kind of cool to be invited to something like this in real life. You never know what you might find out! You could end up making some new friends etc. I think my favorite scene was at the beginning. I can relate to what happened. I'm not a big fan of crowds either but I would respect my friends and show up either way it went. I kind of had to snicker at how and where they ended up. I love Rachel's books. I love her stories and how they can be very realistic and believable!! Her writing is amazing!! She definiately wrapped up the ending to this story very well even though it had very little Christian messegaes in it but I still loved it anyway. I ended up staying up all night and finishing it. Wonderful plot and Characters that you can believe in and some you can even make friends with. Either way I hated to say goodbye to them. I am going reread this when it comes out in print. I'm also going to ask my library to order it so I can. My thanks to Netgalley for a complimentary copy of this book. NO compensations were received and all opinions are my own.
This was a book I did not want to put down. I loved the five people that get an invitation to join a story society. Each of these people have been living a lie and they need help to confess what is wrong. I love how they became friends even though they were all so different. There were a few twists and turns as we learned each of the characters truths. I also loved the romance. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Best-selling author Rachel Hauck pens a contemporary novel where five people are invited to a mysterious meeting and their lives are changed. In The Fifth Avenue Story Society, five individuals from different backgrounds receive a mysterious invitation to a meeting of the Fifth Avenue Story Society. Two of them were once married to one another but are now divorced, while the others have no known connection with one another. Despite this, Jett, Coral, Chuck, Ed, and Lexa decide to continue meeting each week. Over the weeks, it becomes clear that each one has a story to share. As they begin to share their stories from their hearts, friendships build. But there is more to their story than meets the eye. After all, what does a Uber driver, an underemployed executive, a cosmetic company heiress, a building superintendent, and a college professor have in common? Hauck creates believe-able characters with flaws and struggles. The storyline traces their relationship with one another as their stories are shared. The faith element is present, especially in Coral’s story, but the others are not Christians. Each longs to be accepted by others. Each is facing a crisis of some kind. As their story unfolds and secrets are revealed, they learn to be vulnerable with one another and build trust in one another. Hauck fans will recognize a nod to her earlier book, The Writing Desk, in one of her character’s back story. The novel is flavored with love – a estranged father’s love for his children, divorced partners who might be reconciling, someone mourning for his lost love, and a heiress with a broken engagement – as well as two mysteries to solve. Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.
This creative tale of friendship, community, and second chances follows five New Yorkers as they meet under mysterious circumstances and form a sort of club together. I enjoyed following the characters as they each attempted to navigate uncertainty in their lives and decide on the next steps they should take. There was the stirring and hope of romance for these characters as the novel progressed. Letting go of lies, hidden truths, and guilt was an important step for each of the characters, as well. The Fifth Avenue Story Society was definitely a page turner with a satisfying conclusion that should please fans of women’s fiction, as well as those who love a good romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
This was a wonderful book. I loved the characterization and how their lives were connected together. Though reluctant at first, it was wonderful to see them get to know one another and share their lives with each other. With five different story lines rolled into one, it might be a little hard to get into at first but once everything is understood, it's smooth sailing from then one. I loved the emphasis on human connection that was made through this story. Each of them different in their own rights, their circumstances also different but somehow sharing with one another brings them closer, helps them form a bond with each other. The mystery behind each characters past keeps you turning the pages and the issues dealt with in the story from death to betrayal to broken marriages, there's also joy and hope and love. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit for a blog tour. All opinions expressed are solely mine.
Rachel is a fabulous author. I don’t know how she manages to write the books she does. They touch a deep part of me and I become completely engrossed, even giving up sleep to read (this is a big deal for me). This book has many threads through out and in the end the tread is pulled to bring it all together in a beautiful piece of art. Each person in this book has a story. This resonated so much with me. That is the whole reason I started my blog, to share my story. It isn’t until the walls come down and truth is spoken that these characters find freedom. This is truth. I love how Rachel works in faith. She definitely doesn’t preach at the reader. Actually there were times I was like, where is Jesus in this? But He is there, as He always is. If you have ever read one of Rachel’s books I am sure you will love this one and if you haven’t I encourage you to pick this one up. A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This story begins with a night in jail for Jett and Chuck followed by a special invitation to attend the 5th Ave Story Society on the following Monday night. Joining them are Jett’s ex-wife, Lexa as well as society girl Coral and senior citizen Ed. As the story unfolds each of these broken, hurting strangers reveal their sorrows to the others in the group and begin to heal. If you’ve read Hauck’s The Writing Desk, you’ll recognize Tenley, Birdie, and G.W. Roth when they appear in the story. (It’s not necessary to understand this book if you haven’t read The Writing Desk, though.) Because there are several key players in the story it seems to take a while for the reader to get to know them, but the story begins moving a bit more swiftly in the middle of the book. This story ends up being all about love, courage, and breaking the chains from the past that hold us down.
Before you do anything else, go put this book on your TBR pile! However you keep track of the books you want to read…whether you add them to Goodreads or you write them down…do it now. You need to read The Fifth Avenue Story Society. This is a story that you will never forget. Five New Yorkers receive an invitation to join the Fifth Avenue Story Society. Any of them could be any of us. On the surface, they seem very different from each other. An executive assistant, literature professor, senior citizen apartment super, an Uber driver, and a multi-millionaire who almost married a prince. What could they possibly have in common? And what do we have in common with these characters? On the surface…nothing. But, each time the five meet, they realize they are more alike than they thought. Like we all do, they doubt themselves. They are flawed and hurt and hiding secrets. Sound familiar? Yeah, it does to me too. I felt this story so deeply. The characters’ stories aren’t my stories, but that’s the point. Deep down, we’re the same. We’re scared, and we’ve been hurt. We wonder if we’re doing the right thing. The conversations we have with others are usually superficial when we need to be real. These strangers were able to open up to each other in ways they’d never been able to before. Was it a coincidence that these five were chosen? Random luck? No. It was divine. God brought them together because He knows what He is doing. Trust Him. And trust me when I say, read this book! It is amazing. I hope that as you read, you see yourself more clearly. And I pray that you’ll find the forgiveness and freedom that God has for all of us.
Five strangers who won't stay strangers With "The Fifth Avenue Story Society" published by Thomas Nelson, New York best-selling author Rachel Hauck presents another story with multiple characters. They story takes place in New York, a good part of it in Manhattan. Jett Wilder is an associate professor of English at Roth College, lover of words and literature and the occasional ride through class-five rapids" and dealing with a broken heart. Chuck Mays is a Uber driver and a civil offender because he threw a tussle at a wedding His deepest desire is to have contact with his kids again. Lexa is the executive of the fast-growing ZB Enterprises, wants to be CEO, but things are not going as she planned them. She is shocked to meet Jett, her ex-husband. Coral Winthrop is the owner of CCW Cosmetics and fighting to save her grandmother's empire. She discovers that her ancestors built the place where they are meeting. Ed Marshall is a widower who loves his 1920 Underwood typewriter and is supposedly writing his love story with Esmerelda. The path of those five cross through anonymous invitations to the Fifth Avenue Story Society in the Bower Room of the Fifth Avenue Literary Society library. They are told to discover their stories. But is it just the "cover stories" or does it have to do more with the mysteries and the truth of everybody's life? I have read a few of Rachel Hauck's books that are marked by relationships and Christian Values. Once again the story presents interesting and unique characters with various challenges and pains. The story provokers reflection over the readers' own stories. The story is challenging, in a positive way, due to the fact that it switches between the five key players. There are surprising twists, but the story is realistic and intriguing. I highly recommend the book to readers who love well-written Christian novels that include also romance. The complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley free of charge. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #TheFifthAvenueStorySociety #NetGalley
A story society... Just the name made me want to read the book, be a part of it, whatever it is. Meeting the characters, getting to know them, and becoming part of their stories was exciting and heartwarming. Five members with totally different perspectives and life journeys come together through a mysterious invitation, some strangers, some had previously met. As they get to know each other and begin to bond, the story society becomes a place of endearment, offering love, friendship and hope. Each member mysteriously receives an invitation to the story society and shows up out of pure curiosity. Agreeing to meet again, even though they have no idea what this is all about, they continue to return week after week, getting to know each other and connecting. The book chapters detail each character's life separately, as their secrets and struggles are revealed, and their lives unfold. As the story progressed, I did not want to put it down. It's beautifully written and an emotional read as we watch the characters grow and be stretched. I have long been a fan of Rachel's books, and this one did not disappoint. I was blessed with a copy courtesy of Celebrate Lit. I was not asked or required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
The author has written a very emotional book that pulls the layers back from five characters. Each one has something that is holding them back from being content. I loved when they all got together in the group and wondered who brought them together and why. That is the beauty of this story where each character gets a staring role to let readers look deep inside and feel their emptiness. From the depths of emotion the author gathers five people from different backgrounds and places them in a room where lives will be changed. Each person in the story is mesmerizing and yet holds deep secrets. I couldn’t put the book down as I began to know each character. I was filled with hope as the story began to chip away from their heart that had been hurt. The author has written a story that I will not forget. These five people meet in a room and as they grow closer each week we get to experience loss, unspoken love, rejection, fear and most of all God’s love. I think my favorite character was Ed. His story was heartbreaking yet taught me about loving the unloved. He is a true example of loving someone unconditionally. As he begins to share his story, I could feel him being set free. Throughout the story the author shows how hard it is for a person to ask for help. They each want to hold back and pretend everything is fine. Within that room, many tears are shed and healing begins. I think we could all use a group like the one in the story. Guilt consumes some of the characters and I really liked how the author reminds us that “the truth will set you free.” I won’t spoil the book because each character brings a story that could be our own story. It made me look at my life differently. All the lies that the enemy has whispered to me over the years that I was never wanted was a lie. I was always wanted by my Heavenly Father. “Doesn’t make you less strong to need and accept help.” I received an arc copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
A college professor who suffers guilt about the death of his brother. The professor's ex-wife. A grieving widower longing for the perfect love story. An heiress in danger of losing her cosmetic company. A divorced father who yearns to be a part of his children's life. These five people are invited to join a story society and their lives will never be the same because their souls and hearts are about to be stripped bare. As they continue to meet weekly, we learn their secrets, we see how they all have been in denial about their lives, and we witness the seeds of friendship being planted and nurtured. Author Rachel Hauck has created some fascinating characters and as I read about their failures, their hurts, and their secret lives, I was reminded that pretending is a common trait. If we humans can't have perfection in reality, we may seek it in our fantasies. These five individuals who attended the first meeting of the Fifth Avenue Story Society in August had no way of knowing that by the next March they would have experienced 'Hope...second chances....living through the storms of life' and that faith, forgiveness, and hope would be theirs to claim. Honesty would set them free because, as one character observed, "Funny thing about the truth; it opened as many doors as it closed." This is an inspiring and heartwarming story and I found myself completely immersed in learning more about The Fifth Avenue Story Society. I received a copy from the author but I wasn't required to write a favorable review. These are my own thoughts.
My new favorite Rachel Hauck book! Loved a magical library where healing and friendships happen. Loved being a fly on the wall for the journeys of these 5 characters. I think my favorite was Ed & his testimony of sacrificial love in the face of many hardships. This story made for a really enjoyable Audible listen. And it was fun for me (as an English teacher) that the head of the New York College English Department was named Renee ;)
The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck is a moving story that goes on my “best of the best” list. The bookstore setting is atmospheric and charming, the characters rich and endearing, and every word of the prose is to be treasured. It’s a story of friendship, renewal and second chances, with a few heartwarming moments that moved me to tears. The anonymous story society invitation goes out to five characters from various backgrounds and social status, all anchored to something in their pasts that kept them from moving on and living life to the fullest. The story is like a piece of fabric, with threads of each character’s past, present and future woven together and interconnected. As with any good book, it’s easy to care about the characters. This story, however, took me to a new level of caring. Hauck not only knows people, but she is able to project their innermost hearts and desires through her characters, desires that are common to all of us. I came to know Lexa, Jett, Chuck, Coral and Ed well through their raw honesty and humanness – their fears, insecurities, needs, and hopes. There’s a little mystery and supernatural element, but the real story is in what happens through these Monday night meetings. The librarian, Gilda, is an interesting character and I’d love to see what’s on the other side of her door that’s marked “private.” The spiritual thread is gentle and subtle, culminating in a beautiful way toward the end. The image of Christ knocking at the door instantly came to mind and these closing words speak to all … "The invitation is always waiting. All you have to do is say yes." Highly recommended. I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
The writing style flowed, the character development and plot were outstanding. I could not put it down. There are 5 people who are invited to the “Story Society” in the old Winthrop library in New York City. They don’t know why they are there or why they were invited and I found that intriguing. I am not sure they ever figured it out, but they turn into friends and keep meeting. I loved the end of the book. This was a charming and satisfying novel. If you have read any of Rachel Hauck’s books, you know she has a bit of a “what would jesus do” theme that runs through them. She is one of my favorite authors. If you like her other books or haven’t tried one yet, don’t miss this one! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I thought The Fifth Avenue Story Society was an inspiring story. The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck has five people receiving invitations to join the Fifth Avenue Story Society on Monday at 9 p.m. at the Fifth Avenue Literary Society Library in the Bower Room. Lexa, Jett, Chuck, Coral and Ed all show up and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the Bower Room. It is like stepping back into the nineteenth century. No one knows why they received the invitations or who sent them. After the first meeting, they all agree to return the following week. Each week this diverse group of individuals meet and begin to share their lives. Each one of them has something in their past that continues to haunt them. To bare ones most innermost secrets takes time and trust. Each one of them has a story to tell. As they share their stories, it will heal their hearts and souls. The Fifth Avenue Story Society is a charming story. I enjoyed reading every word. I thought The Fifth Avenue Story Society was well-written with developed characters. Jett Wilder is an associate professor of English at New York College who has been working on his dissertation. Jett has not been the same since the death of his brother, Storm. Coral Winthrop owns CCW Cosmetics and is known as the runaway bride. She was to marry Prince Augustus of Lauchtenland, but she backed out on their wedding day. No one know why and everyone wants to know. She is also having trouble with her company. Chuck Mays is an Uber driver who is divorced and unable to see his twin children. He misses them terribly and is ashamed of the reason why he cannot visit them. Ed Marshall wants to write about the love of his life. He has trouble getting the story down on paper. Lexa Wilder is executive assistant to Zane Breas who owns ZB Enterprises. Lexa does the work of a CEO and wants the open position for herself. Lexa just needs to ask Zane. She is also the ex-wife of Jett whom she still loves. Five diverse people come together in the Bower Room each week. As they get to know each other, they look forward to the meetings where they share their lives and food. The story alternates POV between the five characters. The story flows beautifully from person to person as we get to know them and what they are hiding. We learn about their struggles, their hopes, aspirations and their secrets. I enjoyed the description of the Bower Room with all the wonderful books, the fireplace, and the beautiful furniture. I wanted to snuggle in one of the chairs with one of the books from the shelves. I like how everything the story came together for a special ending. My favorite line from the book is, “Every day we tell, listen to, live and breathe stories.” Rachel Hauck weaved a heartwarming and uplifting tale.
You know something interesting and exciting will happen when a diverse group of people receive a mysterious invitation to a story society. And that’s exactly what happened. There’s a college professor and his ex-wife, an Uber driver, the owner of a big cosmetics company, and an older man who just wants to write about his love story. But they all have something in common-broken lives and painful pasts, all carrying deep secrets. I do have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was unsure of it in the beginning, but the more I got into it, the more I was interested in it. The unknown of the characters’ past is what kept me reading and not wanting to stop. The book deals with death, betrayal, broken marriages, and heartbreak. But it is also filled with love and hope. It’s not always easy, as Rachel Hauck so bluntly presents, but the end result is worth it all. You just have to have patience and trust in God.
This is the first book written by Rachel Hauck I've read, and won't be the last! Fantastic author. Well written novel. The five characters in this novel, I loved each one. I love stories centered around bookstores, books, libraries, etc. This one did not disappoint. I was very intrigued by this story in which five people receive an invitation to The Fifth Avenue Story Society, and don't know why or who sent it. It moves back and forth between each person and you get to know them. They come together each week and what happens in that room is magical! The librarian, Gilda is magical herself. You won't be disappointed in getting this book. Thank you to publisher and NetGalley for the eARC
Jett and Chuck wind up in jail after trying to defend a bridesmaid. Released after the night, Chuck asks a couple questions and they go on their way. Upon returning home he discovers an invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society in with his belongings. Lexa is after a CEO position, and is already her boss’s right hand, or neck. She also gets an invitation. Chuck keeps trying to get glimpses of his kids, without violating his restraining order. Heading to his car to start his Uber work, he sees the invitation. Coral has been a recluse after she broke her engagement and is among the elite families in New York. Ed just wants to write a story about the love of his life. 5 people whom all become dear as the story progresses and they try and figure out why they were all brought together via these invitations. The pieces come together slowly, but are told in a way to keep the pages turning until the end. Another beautiful story by this author. A complimentary copy was provided by Thomas Nelson through Net Galley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.