Saturday, August 12, 2006

City of Light by Lauren Belfer (1999)

The utterly awesome Sameera Redkar from the Ousterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre, PA recently sent us the following email:

"I thought you would like to know that in the book City of Light, by Lauren Befler, there is a reference to Scranton, PA and Mr. John J. Albright. You can check the reference on page # 27."

I've read the book City of Light about a year ago upon recommendation of my colleague (the lucious Lenore), and it truly is a book you can't put down--full of mystery, suspense, history and scandal.

Set in the spring of 1901, as preparations for the Pan-American Exposition would seem to promise Buffalo, New York, a permanent place in the world, Lauren Belfer's book is narrated by the never-married headmistress of a fashionable girls' school. At 36, Louisa Barrett does her best to free her charges from their societal shackles. What Louisa is most concerned about, however, is her 9-year-old goddaughter, Grace Sinclair, who has grown increasingly unstable since her mother's sudden death. Meanwhile, Grace's father is heading up Buffalo's hydroelectric power plans with dangerous zeal--much to the chagrin of local conservationists who oppose any exploitation of Niagara Falls. Will Tom's intensity, which smacks of fanaticism, extend so far as murder?

Scranton, Pennsylvania is mentioned in connection with John J. Albright, for whom the Albright Memorial Library was named. In addition, there is a dinner party scene in the book in which John J. Albright and Frederick Law Olmstead (the landscape architect of the Albright Memorial Library gardens, as well as Central Park in New York City) interact with each other.

Three copies of City of Light by Lauren Belfer are circulating throughout the Lackawanna County Library System.

To read more about Albright's and Olmstead's roles in the history of Albright Memorial Library, click here.

To read an interview with Lauren Belfer about City of Light, click here.

Much thanks again to Sameera Redkar for this reference. Also a Great Big Thank You to Lenore from Circulation for recommending the book to me.