Library copy of The City Beautiful on a white cloth, three skeins of yarn surround it and a red sweater lays to the left

72. The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros

Today we’re discussing an historical fantasy novel, The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros. Set in Chicago in the late 1800s, Romanian Jewish immigrant Alter Rosen is swept up in a city-wide mystery after his bestie and crush Yakov is killed (spoiler! Sorry not sorry but if you didn’t guess it was queer then what show do you even think you’re listening to?!). There’s an anarchist side kick, some possession, and lots of chaos!

This book was suggested by the wonderful roro_suri on instagram, who always has really strong book recs. Many thanks to them and our Patrons for these book recommendations to start us off for Season 5. 

Content warning for anti-semitism and sexual assault. 

  • Recommend if you like…
    • Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen (lit.ra.lly. a series of murders around the chicago world’s fair….sound familiar?) 
    • If you like things like Outlander maybe? I haven’t read/seen it, but it feels like they might have similar vibes
    • Sherlock Holmes books/movies/TV shows
    • Grishaverse*

* we’ve done several episodes for this series! but you don’t have to take our word for it – go ahead and scroll thru our episodes page 🙂

As always, we’d love to be in discussion with you, magical people. Drop us a line in the comments or reach out to us on twitter, Instagram (@thelibrarycoven), or via email (

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Our cover art is by the talented artist nimsby. The podcast theme song is “Unermerry Academy of Magics” by Augustin C from the album “Fantasy Music”, which you can download on

We support #LandBackThe Library Coven is recorded and produced on stolen indigenous land: Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute (Kelly) and Chickasha, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Mascoutin, Miami, Mesquaki, Odawa, Ojibwe, Peankashaw, Peoria, Potawatomi, Sauk, and Wea (Jessie)