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Extended Audio Sample City of Light Audiobook, by Lauren Belfer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,712 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Belfer Narrator: Jan Maxwell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553750072
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The year is 1901. Buffalo, New York, is poised for glory. With its booming industry and newly electrified streets, Buffalo is a model for the century just beginning. 

Louisa Barrett has made this dazzling city her home. Headmistress of Buffalo’s most prestigious school, Louisa is at ease in a world of men, protected by the titans of her city. But nothing prepares her for a startling discovery: evidence of a murder tied to the city’s cathedral-like power plant at nearby Niagara Falls. This shocking crime--followed by another mysterious death--will ignite an explosive chain of events. For in this city of seething intrigue and dazzling progress, a battle rages among politicians, power brokers, and industrialists for control of Niagara. And one extraordinary woman in their midst must protect a dark secret that implicates them all…

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 2/18/2014

    " Historical fiction set in Buffalo at the turn of the last century, more or less. The main character didn't come across very convincingly to me, and the drama wasn't all that dramatic. I did enjoy the "other" main character - the power station under construction at Niagara Falls. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christa | 2/14/2014

    " Enjoyed the majority of the story. I didn't buy the rape scene and thought the ending was tied up a bit too neatly. With the forementioned exceptions I enjoyed it immensely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonja Livingston | 2/10/2014

    " I applaud anyone who wants to bring the rich history of western New York to the world through writing or art. The novel includes much information and research and provides a good "feel" for Buffalo at the turn of the century and what was at stake for the landscape and the people. That said, the main character was inconsistent and unbelievable, and the plot veered over the falls about a third of the way through. I enjoyed several of the strands of story, and was hooked enough to find out what happens (a good thing!) but I refused to be weighed down by the overly wrought story and for the final third of the novel, became a 7th grader reading the first lines of every other paragraph. Just pruning this novel would have made it stronger. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marleen | 1/28/2014

    " Loved the historical details. Very delightful read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin | 1/19/2014

    " Not bad, was a bit disappointed in the ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 1/18/2014

    " Very convincing portait of a superior woman in a tough time for women, but a tipsy-turvy time for America. I loved this book. The era is well described and made through its characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicki Schwenkbeck | 1/17/2014

    " A beautifully written book that includes fictional as well as historical characters. The book is set in Buffalo, but the city is almost a character in itself. A great read with lots of twists and turns. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katharine | 1/13/2014

    " I had never read anything about Buffalo, much less in this time period. Such a great book! I couldn't put it down. From the characters and story to the underlying political and social elements of electricity at Niagara and the Worlds Fair, it was an amazing book. I highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 12/12/2013

    " I love this book. The author does a wonderful job of blending fiction with historical events. Buffalo in the early 1900's. The struggle by the elite to maintain the class system and privatize everything. First electro plants and the question of who owns the Falls (water). Very well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marieka | 11/21/2013

    " Buffalo when it was the place to be...can you imagine? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/15/2013

    " The use of actual historical figures to move the plot forward was distracting, but the exploration of my hometown's history carried me through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria Gillard | 8/3/2013

    " Wonderful book about a woman living on her own in the late 1800's in Buffalo, NY. It is intriguing and historically accurate about the city if Buffalo and what was going on politically at the time.I could not put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke | 10/24/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. I love historical fiction and love learning about the Buffalo-Niagara area. I loved reading how the main character carried herself in a man's world. Sometimes I wanted her to break free of the control they had over her life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Feltskog | 6/7/2012

    " A fine novel, richly deserving of all the accolades it has received. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phair | 5/4/2012

    " Started out as very good with romance, history, intrigue, feminism but I did not like the ending of the personal story and the whole business about the Niagara big business vs the environment seems to just get dropped and life goes on. Bit of a fizzle out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 3/11/2012

    " I would choose this book again. It's short coming was that it repeated some description of Buffalo. The story was somewhat unbelievable. Lots of history. Maybe her fitst novel "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 12/3/2011

    " I may have liked this book so much simply because it took place in my home town. All of the places mentioned were real and many still exist today. It made the glory days of early Buffalo history come alive in this fictional story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melinda010100 | 10/17/2011

    " This book takes place at an interesting time in history and I learned more about Niagara Falls and the city of Buffalo than I could ever have imagined. I will never look at the Falls in quite the same way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 christine | 7/16/2011

    " Very interesting from a historic standpoint. Thr story itself was disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roseann | 6/3/2011

    " What a wonderful book about Buffalo! Ms. Belfer does a wonderful job bringing history to life and even has Mrs. Grover Cleveland in the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angel Hartle | 5/2/2011

    " One of the best books I've read in a while. I really enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Naomi | 4/15/2011

    " I read this book a couple of years ago..Although, I was excited to read it, I ended up feeling that it was alot of fluff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 4/6/2011

    " A good book, interesting history, but too long. Started skimming at the end because I just wanted to finish it already! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 3/26/2011

    " compelling...I really like Lauren Belfer as a writer... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roseann | 3/17/2011

    " What a wonderful book about Buffalo! Ms. Belfer does a wonderful job bringing history to life and even has Mrs. Grover Cleveland in the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shanthi | 3/4/2011

    " Lot of research done behind this book. Learnt a lot about electricity, Buffalo, past presidents... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jocelyn | 3/2/2011

    " I enjoyed the plot of this story. The narrator annoyed me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 1/13/2011

    " Despite some fairly obvious foreshadowing, and more than a little melodrama, I really enjoyed this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fiona | 12/29/2010

    " I didn't realize Buffalo had such a vibrant history, and I enjoyed the historical background. It was a bit long for me and unnecessarily sad, but very well written with an interesting turn of the century setting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 12/29/2010

    " Lauren Belfer has become one of my favorite authors, and this book is great. It's part murder mystery, love story, and history lesson and it is set in New York. So so good. "

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About the Author
Author Lauren Belfer

Lauren Belfer was born in Rochester, New York, and attended Swarthmore College, where she majored in medieval studies. She also has an MFA from Columbia University. Lauren Belfer’s most recent novel, A Fierce Radiance, was named a Washington Post Best Novel and an NPR Best Mystery. Her debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Jan Maxwell is an American stage and television actress. She made her Broadway debut in the musical City of Angels and has been nominated for two Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards. She won the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Her Broadway credits include Sixteen Wounded, Match, and The Dinner Party. She is the sister of Obie Award–winning playwright Richard Maxwell.