I received this book for free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing at BEA 2016. That fact in no way influenced my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron
Published on June 7, 2016.
What is revealed when you draw back the curtain of the Greatest Show on Earth?
Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.
Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life – one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. She abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner – an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers’ circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ winter home—Ca’D’Zan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she’s been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.
With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings’ big-top world, Rosamund’s journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America’s Roaring ‘20s—a journey that forever changes what one life might have been.
I love books about the circus, and this book was no exception. It weaves together the stories of two women who dare to step away from the lives they're intended to live and go after their dreams. Mable Burton leaves her home on a farm in Ohio and heads to Chicago for the worlds fair. There she meets a tall man of few words: the Circus King, John Ringling. Lady Rosamund Easling encounters a circus man as well after driving her car into a river in northern England.
The story spans over 30 years. The beginning is quite Downton Abbey-esque. But the majority of the action takes place at the circus during the late 1920s. There is enough circus drama to satisfy those curious about life on a circus train during that time period. There's some mystery and romance. Really, this book has a little of everything. And it has only undertones of Christianity despite the publishing house it comes out of.
Having been to Sarasota many times, I enjoyed the portions of Mable and John's story that were set there. I think I enjoyed this book more knowing that some of the characters were real. This is a great historical fiction read. My only complaint is that it jumps ahead in time a lot. I wanted more of the story, and especially more Mable. I enjoyed her chapters more than Rose's.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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