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Publisher's Summary

It is 1901 and Buffalo, New York, stands at the center of the nation's attention as a place of immense wealth and sophistication. The massive hydroelectric power development at nearby Niagara Falls and the grand Pan-American Exposition promise to bring the Great Lakes "city of light" even more repute.Against this rich historical backdrop lives Louisa Barrett, the attractive, articulate headmistress of the Macaulay School for Girls. Protected by its powerful all-male board, "Miss Barrett" is treated as an equal by the men who control the life of the city. Lulled by her unique relationship with these titans of business, Louisa feels secure in her position, until a mysterious death at the power plant triggers a sequence of events that forces her to return to a past she has struggled to conceal, and to question everything and everyone she holds dear.Both observer and participant, Louisa Barrett guides us through the culture and conflicts of a time and place where immigrant factory workers and nature conservationists protest violently against industrialists, where presidents broker politics, where wealthy "Negroes" fight for recognition and equality, and where women struggle to thrive in a system that allows them little freedom.
©1999 Lauren Belfer; (P)1999 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"...an ingenious first novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By S. Sarabasha on 07-14-10

good historical detail

I enjoyed the reader and the story. Tells a tale of gender differences and budding feminism effectively. Also recounts the beginning of electricity for the masses and how that occured.
The more we hear of how men made fortunes on the backs of the poor yet telling the world what they were doing was for our own good, the more it is the same. Very apt with the BP disaster in the Gulf.
Wish the sequel - Radiance of Light was being put into audio.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Carla Foster on 04-16-17

The author reading the book is a HUGE mistake

I read about 3 chapters of this book and was interested in finishing it. I was traveling and decided to purchase it on audible. What a mistake. The author's southern accent did not fit with the many Italian words she could not pronounce correctly. It was painful to listen to. I will finish the book, not the recorded version

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