City 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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