The Queen Of The Night by Alexander CheeThe Queen Of The Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen Of The Night

byAlexander Chee

Paperback | November 1, 2016

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"Masterful." - WiredOne of the most celebrated titles of the new year, The Queen of the Night tells the "spellbinding"* story of Lilliet Berne. Orphaned as a child, Lilliet left the American frontier for Europe and was swept into the glamour and terror of Second Empire France. She became a sensation of the Paris Opera, with every accolade but an original role-her only chance at immortality. When one is offered to her, she finds the libretto is based on her deepest secret, something only four people have ever known. But which of them betrayed her? In an "extravagant five-act grand opera of a novel,"** The Queen of the Night shares Lilliet's cunning transformation from circus rider to courtesan to legendary soprano, retracing the path that led to the role that could secure her reputation-or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.
* BuzzFeed
** Wall Street Journal
ALEXANDER CHEE is the author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night . He is the recipient of a Whiting Award and an NEA fellowship in fiction. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, and on NPR, among others, and he is a contributing editor at the New Republic.  
Title:The Queen Of The NightFormat:PaperbackDimensions:576 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1.46 inPublished:November 1, 2016Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0544925475

ISBN - 13:9780544925472

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Addicting a friend recommended this and at first I was unsure if I would like it but after a couple chapters I was hooked. The way the author describes the dresses and the opera's is incredible. There are a couple flaws, having no quotation marks was a bit confusing at first but it's something that one can get used to.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from a lot of pomp but no substance Interesting setup - the life story of an orphan turned circus girl turned courtesan turned opera singer - but ultimately it disappointed me. The protagonist never became real to me, and the mysteries and the doomed love-story felt hollow.
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee I never, for one second, found this romance interesting or believable, and having to read about Lilliet mooning over the composer every few pages just made me resist it more. I never saw any reason for these two to be so in love, and had no idea why they liked each other so much, which made their affair boring and perplexing. Also a major time waste - why was Lilliet wasting her time sneaking around with the composer, I wondered, when we could be doing something more useful, like, I don't know, trying to escape her horrible circumstances or murdering the tenor? It also REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS, readers, that in a story where our heroine is constantly abused, raped, and victimized by men, the thing that finally motivates her to take control of her own life is the healing power of yet another man's love. Eye rolling for days.
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok This book dragged in many places but there were some good chapters too. It took too long to finish because it didn't pull me in
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This is one of the best books I have read in years. Definitely recommend, it's so well written and a beautiful story! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Novel of 2016! This was a Goodreads contender for Historical Fiction's best book of 2016, it won in my heart. I enjoy big books because I find the characters are better developed and I truly adore being lost in a historical fiction novel. The determination of the main character was admirable, it was beautifully written, I recommended it to friends/family. I will read it again
Date published: 2017-03-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Dizzying Adventure The Queen of the Night will pull you in and keep you hooked. I read this book in one sitting, unable to put it down until I had finished. While it's a fun read and definitely interesting for anyone who appreciates historical fiction, some parts of the book can drag on and the writing itself can be repetitive. Would recommend for anyone looking for a quick, fun read.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't Wait to Dive in Just received my order with this book. Have been hearing about it for a year and looking forward to reading it ever since!
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spellbinding A sweeping, enchanting, extravagant novel. I am completely astonished by The Queen of the Night right now. It's one of those books where once I finished it, I had to sit and stare at the wall for a number of minutes as my heart pounded. I am ecstatic to have found what will probably be one of my favourite reads of 2017 so early in the year. The Queen of the Night follows Lilliet Berne, a young woman who is a sensational soprano at the Paris Opera in the Belle Epoque period. She accepts the role in a new opera, only to discover that the opera appears to be about her life, and that it unveils secrets only four people in the world know. The book tells the story of her life, and her attempts to survive and reinvent herself, from small town rural America, to life as a courtesan, and finally to the stages of Paris. The book chronicles the height and fall of the Second Empire and Lilliet's proximity to the Emperor, Empress, European royalty, and the various elite of the Opera world. It is a book full of political intrigue as well as romantic whimsy. The story closely mirrors the spectacle of an opera - I found that the plot at first seemed unfeasible, and it is definitely important as a reader to be able to suspend one's disbelief in order to enjoy the book fully. The many historical and operatic references are rather engrossing, and I spent a lot of time listening to music from the operas mentioned throughout, specifically The Magic Flute (which Alexander Chee says the book is partially based on), and also looking up the history of the time period. I was impressed to learn that many of the characters were real people or based on real people. Of course, in a novel so long (and one that took 12 years to write and research at that), I'd expect a certain bogging of facts, but all the detail about the characters and time period are so seamlessly woven into the narrative, and it never gets dry to read. It is rather remarkable how the author is so thorough in the weaving of history in the book, but its execution makes it so that the reader is not even aware of how much research and detail went into it. I am particularly fascinated by one of the characters, the Comtesse de Castiglione - a real courtesan who was sent by the Italian embassy to seduce Napoleon III and became his mistress, and had a role in the circles of European royalty. Her political importance extends to having a role in convincing Bismarck to not occupy Paris following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. Chee explores the role of courtesans in this book, not in terms of how they are typically portrayed, but in the political power some managed to possess. Of course, like all novels, The Queen of the Night is not without flaws. I admit that I found myself getting annoyed at the seemingly random introduction of Lilliet's love interest and his role throughout the rest of the book. Up until the end, I wondered what the point of him was, but his role was wrapped up in a more significant way. Also, as beautifully written as this book is, I thought some of the writing, as well as the jumps in narrative and plot "reveals" to be a bit hard to follow - I had to reread quite a lot of passages. However, for the most part, the love interest and the jumps in logic did not take away from the overall reading experience. If anything, I could see myself reading this book again and getting even more out of it than I did the first time around. If you're a fan of historical fiction, or are looking for a book that is simply extravagant in almost every aspect, pick up this one!
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An interesting take on an opera This book is engrossing! You get incredibly caught up in back story and romance, it is very easy to get lost in this book. I did find it dragged in places though.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Romance and Mystery and Opera Lilliet Berne is a popular opera singer with a secret past - one she does not wish anyone to know about. But that is exatcly what will happen if an opera is written about her life by someone who has discovered her secret. From circus performer, to prostitute, to singer, Lilliet has a lot to lose. What follows is a clever plot that takes many turns. It is very much a statement about women in a stringent historical period where it was difficult to maintain one's independence. If you are an opera lover, then you will find the story highly entertaining for its many links and subplots related to famous operas, and Lilliet's story runs parallel to some of these themes. Many famous historical characters have cameo appearances in the story - Brahms, Verdi, and Empress Eugenie to name a few. It is obvious the author did intensive research into the period which shows in the many vivid descriptions of clothing and operas. And of course there is a lovely growing romance between Lilliet and a composer, one in which truly touched me. A very good, long book. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2016-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The extraordinary story of a famous opera singer in 1882 Paris Lilliet Berne is a famous opera singer in 1882 Paris when an author approaches her to ask her to star in an opera he has just finished writing. When she reads it, she realizes that the story relates her own secret past. As she tries to discover the person who betrayed her confidence, she remembers her humble beginnings as an orphan from Ohio, her travels in Europe with a circus and her success as a singer in the City of Lights. In her adventures, she rubs shoulders with historical figures, such as Giuseppe Verdi, Ivan Turgenev, George Sand and the Empress Eugenie, and survives the Second Empire, the Prussian War, the Siege of Paris and the Paris Commune. The Queen of the Night is a fascinating read about a violent period in the history of France. Lilliet Berne is based on real-life Jenny Lind, a famous Swedish opera singer of the 19th century. She is the main character in her own tragedy/opera with the result that the narrative sometimes is a bit far-fetched. In addition, the fact that dialogues are written without the use of quotation marks can be confusing as the reader can’t be sure if the character is speaking or thinking. While this technique has been used effectively by several authors (A Million Little Pieces by James Frey comes to mind), it is not entirely successful in this book, perhaps because The Queen of the Night is a historical fiction, and this method is a better fit in a contemporary novel. However, Alexander Chee shows he is a great literary author with his intricate writing style and his use of a story within a story. His passion for the opera shines through, and he certainly knows how to keep the reader’s attention until the end of the book. The Queen of the Night was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2016-02-19

Editorial Reviews

"Spellbinding." - BuzzFeed A "wild opera of a novel,"* The Queen of the Night tells the mesmerizing story of Lilliet Berne, an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept into the glamour and terror of Second Empire France. She became a sensation of the Paris Opera, with every accolade but an original role-her chance at immortality. When one is offered to her, she finds the libretto is based on her deepest secret, something only four people have ever known. But who betrayed her? With "epic sweep, gorgeous language, and haunting details,"** Alexander Chee shares Lilliet's cunning transformation from circus rider to courtesan to legendary soprano, retracing the path that led to the role that could secure her reputation-or destroy her with the secrets it reveals. "If Lilliet Berne were a man, she might have been what nineteenth-century novels would call a swashbuckler: the kind of destiny-courting, death-defying character who finds intrigue and peril (and somehow, always, a fantastic pair of pantaloons) around every corner." - Entertainment Weekly "