A FIERCE RADIANCE
BY LAUREN BELFER
From the New York Times bestselling author of City of Light comes a compelling, richly detailed tale of passion and intrigue set in New York City during the tumultuous early days of World War II.
Claire Shipley is a single mother haunted by the death of her young daughter and by her divorce years ago. She is also an ambitious photojournalist, and in the anxious days after Pearl Harbor, the talented Life magazine reporter finds herself on top of one of the nation's most important stories. In the bustling labs of New York City's renowned Rockefeller Institute, some of the country's brightest doctors and researchers are racing to find a cure that will save the lives of thousands of wounded American soldiers and countless others—a miraculous new drug they call penicillin. Little does Claire suspect how much the story will change her own life when the work leads to an intriguing romance.
Though Claire has always managed to keep herself separate from the subjects she covers, this story touches her deeply, stirring memories of her daughter's sudden illness and death—a loss that might have been prevented by this new "miracle drug." And there is James Stanton, the shy and brilliant physician who coordinates the institute's top secret research for the military. Drawn to this dedicated, attractive man and his work, Claire unexpectedly finds herself falling in love. But Claire isn't the only one interested in the secret development of this medicine. Her long-estranged father, Edward Rutherford, a self-made millionaire, understands just how profitable a new drug like penicillin could be. When a researcher at the institute dies under suspicious circumstances, the stakes become starkly clear: a murder has been committed to obtain these lucrative new drugs. With lives and a new love hanging in the balance, Claire will put herself at the center of danger to find a killer—no matter what price she may have to pay.
Lauren Belfer dazzled readers with her debut novel, City of Light, a New York Times notable book of the year. In this highly anticipated follow-up, she deftly captures the uncertainty and spirit, the dreams and hopes, of a nation at war. A sweeping tale of love and betrayal, intrigue and idealism, A Fierce Radiance is an ambitious and deeply engaging novel from an author of immense talent.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lauren Belfer was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in Buffalo, where she attended the Buffalo Seminary. At Swarthmore College, she majored in Medieval Studies. After graduating, she worked as a file clerk at an art gallery, a paralegal, an assistant photo editor at a newspaper, a fact checker at magazines, and as a researcher and associate producer on documentary films. She has an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller, as well as a #1 Book Sense pick, a Barnes& Noble Discover Award nominee, a New York Times Notable Book, a Library Journal Best Book, and a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. City of Light was a bestseller in Great Britain and has been translated into seven languages. She is also the author of the novel A Fierce Radiance. Belfer’s fiction has also been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and Henfield Prize Stories. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. Lauren Belfer lives in New York City.
In a gripping novel of romance and conspiracy, with life and death consequences hanging in the balance, Lauren Belfer’s A FIERCE RADIANCE transports readers back to 1941. With the United States having just declared war on Germany and Japan, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, readers find Claire Shipley on her way to New York City. Claire works for LIFE magazine and is sent to cover the story of the medical community racing to develop a life-saving cure for blood infections that will hopefully save the lives of so many soldiers going off to war, as well as civilians. Researchers at the Rockefeller Institute are desperately working on a new drug they call Penicillin that has great potential if they can get it to patients in time and produce enough of it to meet the need.
Claire works on her assignment by witnessing these life-saving efforts, however she can’t help but think how if this drug had been available sooner, her daughter might still be alive as she died from blood poisoning that resulted from a simple scratch. Dr. James Stanton is in charge of the research and organizing it for the military as well as keeping the experiments confidential. Claire is intrigued and becomes interested in Dr. Stanton for more reasons than just his research and her story. But when Stanton’s fellow researcher dies and the realization that a murder was committed by someone who wants this drug no matter what the cost, Claire finds herself in the middle and in danger. You see, not only was the doctor who was murdered also James Stanton’s sister, but Claire’s father has become involved in trying to get the formula for penicillin. Edward Rutherford, who is the father that Claire parted ways with long ago, is a sharp businessman who sees the future of this drug as one that can yield a huge profit if he can control it.
Can Claire find out who is behind this murder or will she wind up in danger? Will she be able to complete her job as well as see where these romantic feelings lead? What of the results of the penicillin? Will it be produced fast enough and in time for the soldiers going off to Europe and the Pacific? Complete with a well-researched background and a myriad of information about penicillin, (which I never knew was developed at this time and because of the war), Belfer has written a story filled with realistic, well-developed characters and one that readers should find fascinating.
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