Book Review: "City Of Light"

City of LightCity of Light by Lauren Belfer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My goodness what a novel. If you want to be utterly immersed in the world of Buffalo, New York in 1901, the year of the Pan-American Exposition, and to see that world in unflinching terms, then this is the book for you. "City Of Light" is no sentimental, simpler-times world that never was. It is a gritty and complicated world of the famous, the powerful, the not famous, the powerless, and all told through the eyes of Louisa Barrett, headmistress of the Macaulay School, and the bearer of a good many dangerous secrets.

This story is part murder mystery, part historical novel, and much more. I'll tell you, I identified strongly with the main character, and really, almost all the female characters, and it was hard to realize what a struggle it was, in that era, just to be one's own self. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that I felt myself to really be there, in 1901, and some of the things that happen just broke my heart. I won't forget this novel. It really moved me, but it wasn't easy to take, because I did care so much about the characters.

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Sioux Roslawski said…
A novel that earned the coveted "Shay's Fifth Star" must be incredible.

I'll have to check it out...
hedgewitch said…
There are very few books that are as immersive for me as this one was--possibly in all my life of reading by this time thousands of books, only twenty or so. This would be among my top ten. I agree with your five stars, even though I did not identify with the heroine--I still found her a sympathetic and complex character, and admired the way the author was able to make me care deeply about her and the events of her life, despite not agreeing with her many times. Excellent review, Shay, as always.
Mama Zen said…
This sounds really good!
Sara said…
Some of the best books are the ones we can't put down, but want to. It sounds like City of Lights was that kind of book for you.

Isn't it amazing when an author can take you into a different world and make you feel as if you were there at that time and place, walking beside the characters as they moved through their lives? I love books that do this:~)

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