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Extended Audio Sample The Queen of the Night, by Alexander  Chee Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alexander Chee Narrator: Lisa Flanaga Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From a writer praised by Junot Díaz as “the fire, in my opinion, and the light,” comes a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned diva.

Lilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all.

As she mines her memories for clues, she recalls her life as an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris. To survive, she transformed herself from hippodrome rider to courtesan, from empress’ maid to debut singer, all the while weaving a complicated web of romance, obligation, and political intrigue.

Featuring a cast of characters drawn from history, The Queen of the Night follows Lilliet as she moves closer to the truth behind the mysterious opera and the role that could secure her reputation—or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A night at an opera you’ll wish never-ending.”

    Helen Oyeyemi, New York Times bestselling author

  • “So full of baroque drama, borrowed identities, unnatural deaths, and double crosses it would impress the Count of Monte Cristo…The richness of his research is evident on every page.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • Brilliantly extravagant in its twists and turns and its wide-ranging cast of characters. But Chee is equally lavish in his attention to the material culture of Second Empire and Belle Epoque Paris.”


  • “Through Lilliet, we experience the decadence of Second Empire Paris and the terror of the Franco-Prussian War. The novel’s most operatic characters really lived…and Chee gets them right.”


  • “A celebration of…women of creativity, ingenuity, endurance, mastery and grace—a gala in their honor.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Under the layers of plot and operatic melodrama…Queen of the Night explores the question of what gives the courtesan her hold, her power over the hearts of men.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “A book that could contentedly settle into a thrilling historical romance trope creates something much more refreshing and subversive.”


  • “Sprawling, soaring, bawdy, and plotted like a fine embroidery.”


  • “A wild romp through circuses, brothels, and palaces, breathing life into the intrigue and decadence of the era while exposing the steep price of self-reinvention and being an artist….It certainly deserves a standing ovation.”


  • “Chee’s voice, at once dreamy and dramatic, never falters; Lilliet’s cycle of reinventions is a moving meditation on the transformative power of fate, art, time, and sheer survival.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Its plot is gripping in its own right, with secrets, plots, luxury, and intrigue all in abundance—but it’s also a fascinating look at art, isolation, and acclaim.”

    Vol. 1 Brooklyn

  • “A completely engrossing work that should appeal to the widest range of readers, especially those with a taste for historical fiction.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Richly researched, ornately plotted, this story demands, and repays, close attention.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Peppering the unfolding plot with real-life events and figures, Chee provides a suitably operatic backdrop for the mesmerizing novel.”


  • “Chee’s lush historical novel read by Lisa Flannigan…with all the requisite reversals of fortune, melodrama and gorgeous costumes, gorgeously described.”

    BookPage (audio review)

  • “Narrator Lisa Flanagan adroitly handles the many accents in this audiobook…Listeners will appreciate Flanagan’s ability to differentiate the characters as well as her clear diction and appropriate pacing…Flanagan captures the tension as Berne attempts to negotiate the complicated social customs of eighteenth-century Europe while hiding the truth of her less-than-elegant past.”


  • “A luminous tale of power and passion. Chee gives us an unforgettable heroine and a rich cast of characters—many of them real historical figures. The story dazzles and surprises right up until the final page.”

    J. Courtney Sullivan, author of The Engagements

  • An Entertainment Weekly “Must Read” for 2016
  • A Millions.com Pick for Most Anticipated Books of 2016
  • An Indie Next List Selection for February 2016
  • A Flavorwire Pick for the 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2016
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick for 10 Characters You Won’t Soon Forget
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2016
  • A Bustle Pick of February 2016’s Best Books to Light Up Your Winter
  • An Entertainment Weekly Pick for 9 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in February
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick for Winter’s Best Bets
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A BuzzFeed Books Pick for Books You Must Read This Spring
  • A 2016 Voice Arts Award Nominee
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