Circus of Wonders, Elizabeth Macneal

A hand holds a red hat. A red curtain is alluded to on the side, with a purple background with glittering stars and a golden globe of sorts in the background.

Poor Nell cannot imagine life for herself after her father sells her to the circus. But used to being treated like an outcast because of her birthmarks, this might be the place for her to shine, meet other people in a similar situation to her own, and make some true friends. She misses her brother fiercely, but Nell is one to make the most of her situation, so she settles in, ready to do just that.

I’m quite obsessed with circus-based books, and the cover of this sealed the deal in wanting to read it. Circus of Wonders takes us not only through life in the circus but through Jasper and Toby’s life inside the war. I appreciated the opposing timelines and varying narratives. The ending wasn’t what I was picturing, but that doesn’t deter my enjoyment of the book. It’s apparent how well-researched this book is. Overall, an enjoyable read.

Circus of Wonders is available on Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N.

About the Book:

Step up, step up! In 1860s England, circus mania is sweeping the nation. Crowds jostle for a glimpse of the lion-tamers, the dazzling trapeze artists and, most thrilling of all, the so-called “human wonders.”

When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders pitches its tent in a poor coastal town, the life of one young girl changes forever. Sold to the ringmaster as a “leopard girl” because of the birthmarks that cover her body, Nell is utterly devastated. But as she grows close to the other performers, she finds herself enchanted by the glittering freedom of the circus, and by her own role as the Queen of the Moon and Stars.

Before long, Nell’s fame spreads across the world—and with it, a chance for Jasper Jupiter to grow his own name and fortune. But what happens when her fame begins to eclipse his own, when even Jasper’s loyal brother Toby becomes captivated by Nell? No longer the quiet flower-picker, Nell knows her own place in the world, and she will fight for it.

Read and like this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.


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