My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life---one that's re-imagined 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!
I really enjoyed this look into the lives of the people behind the scenes of "The Greatest Show on Earth". With a dual timeline that spans more than two decades, you get the sights and sounds of the Chicago World's Fair as well as the excitement and romance of the most famous circus of all times set in the Jazz Age.
Although some might consider this story slow, I found myself so caught up and emotionally drawn into the lives of Mabel and John and Colin and Rosamund that I had a hard time setting it down to do other stuff. It has a steady pace and gentle romance and the two timelines are weaved together until their stories merge in a delightful way.
I loved Colin and his steadfast, loving belief in Rosamund. He's a strong and confident character that's been shaped by his past and the determination of the Queen of the Circus, Mabel Ringling, to see the best in him and change the course of his life.
Rosamund is searching for something more than an arranged marriage to save her father's finances. When he sells her beautiful Arabian mare, Ingénue, to the circus, Rosamund makes the choice to follow. What comes after is a beautiful story of hard work, mistakes, determination, courage, and love that leads to a future she never dreamed of.
Mabel and John's delightfully sweet romance sets the stage for Colin and Rosamund to follow more than two decades later. Their relationship gives a steady background for the story line that merges and comes to life in this setting of the Ringling Brothers' circus and the roaring 20's of the Jazz Age.
All in all, a very enjoyable read with themes of following your dreams, finding love in unexpected places, forgiveness of the past, believing in yourself, and being strong in the face of adversity and danger.
*Thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*
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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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