Ok, now this book had everything I love in a good historical fiction novel. The author managed to weave the real history of the Ringling Bros. Circus, and details of the circus life in the 1920’s with a fiction story so good that it was difficult to tell what was real and what wasn’t.
The characters, both real and fictional were well developed and lifelike. She managed to go into the backstory of the main characters, Mable Burton Ringling (real) and Rosamund Easling (fictional) which made them come alive for me. I especially loved how she wove the story of these two women who defy the societal norms of their day and how they paralleled one another in so many ways.
The secondary characters were also well-developed and made this novel rich in detail. I just loved the character of Colin Keary, the “Circus Boss” and his Irish brogue. The way the author wove his backstory throughout the novel made me want to keep reading just to learn his entire story. Well played Ms. Cambron!
The traveling carnival, circus and freak shows of the early 20th century are a current fascination for me. I just love reading about the life in these shows. All the rivalries and camaraderie that developed. And how the entertainers traveling together became just like a family, with all the drama that entails.
Now this was an historical Christian fiction novel, but didn’t feel preachy or overly spiritual. The author weaves this right into the very nature of these characters. She made them actually live the life of Christians, making mistakes, showing grace, falling down and getting back up again. Just as we all do in real life.
If you like your history well-researched and mingled with fiction so seamlessly that you can’t tell it’s history, this is definitely the book for you. It was a quick and enjoyable read, with enough details of the traveling entertainers life in the 1920’s to make me feel I could step right into the story.
About the book:
The Ringmaster’s Wife (Thomas Nelson, June 2016)
An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.
In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.
A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.
When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.
A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!
About the Author:
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015.
Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.
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I received this book for free or at a discounted price from the publisher or the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.