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Book of the Week #52 "The Ringmaster's Wife"



by Kristy Cambron

Mable Burton grew up in the late 1800s in rural Ohio. She always longed for a glamorous life away from the farm, but kept her dreams in the cigar box under her bed for years. When she learned of the Chicago World's Fair, she ran away from home to pursue her dreams. Yet instead of doing something marvelous like she'd always planned, she wound up working in restaurants and chasing her friend Sally, who was a singer, around the east coast. When a mysterious and wealthy man who would only tell her his name was John asked her to take a walk with him, she found herself falling in love. He disappeared and she didn't see him for another ten years on a sad night when she walked along the board walk alone. He revealed to her that his last name was Ringling, and that he was one of the owners of The Ringling Brother's traveling circus. When he asked her to marry him, Mable accepted, and ran away with him to travel with him and his circus.

Now, in the late 1920s, Lady Rosamund Easling finds herself being forced into a marriage she doesn't want, while simultaneously being separated from her beloved horse, given to her by her brother shortly before he was killed in WWI. When two men that work for The Ringling Brother's circus come to purchase Ingénue, she finds her heart breaking. At the last minute, she decides to leave her home and go with the circus to America to help them train Ingénue with plans to return to England just in time to marry. Yet when she takes this great leap of fate, she finds herself sucked into the bizarre world in which she finds herself and joins the circus. Things won't be easy for the daughter of an earl in the cutthroat world of the circus, but the trials she faces might be worth it to a part of the greatest show on earth!

I was excited about this book when I heard about it. I love the 1920s, and a novel about two women leaving all they've known behind to join the circus sounds so charming. For who hasn't thought of running away from home to chase a dream? This book definitely lived up to my expectations. True, it may have had a bit of a slow start, but once the story gets going, it flies. As I read the performance scenes, I could almost smell the popcorn and earth and hear the crowd cheering as the trick horses ran by and the acrobats flew under the Big Top. And the wonderment level is only elevated by the time in which the story takes place. The late 1920s were such a lively time and is the perfect setting for a novel about the circus, when traveling shows were at their most thrilling.

It's interesting to see where Mable and Rosamund's stories overlap and connect. The two women come from very different backgrounds, yet they still have quite a lot in common. Mable grew up on a farm with little money and few luxuries, while Rosamund was pampered at Easling Park, with anything that she wanted at her fingertips. And still the two both wind up as part of The Ringling Brother's circus, in very different ways, for the rest of their lives. And the men in their lives come from very different backgrounds, yet are similar in that they are supportive of Mable and Rosamund. It's nice to read about husbands that challenge their wives to dream.

All in all, The Ringmaster's Wife is a lovely novel that any fan of historical fiction would enjoy.


I give this book a 5 out of 5.

2 comments

  1. Great review, Miranda. This is definitely one of my favorites of this year. Kristy has a beautiful way of telling a story, and I look forward to her next novel. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rissi! I definitely agree; one of the best of 2016. :)

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