From the #1 internationally bestselling author of the "lush, evocative Gothic" (The New York Times Book Review) The Doll Factory comes an atmospheric and spectacular novel about a woman transformed by the arrival of a Victorian circus of wonders - "as...Read More
From the #1 internationally bestselling author of the "lush, evocative Gothic" (The New York Times Book Review) The Doll Factory comes an atmospheric and spectacular novel about a woman transformed by the arrival of a Victorian circus of wonders - "as moving as it is deeply entertaining" (Daniel Mason, New York Times bestselling author).
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.
Circus of Wonders is "a beautifully told and immersive look at a complex dance between exploitation and empowerment, and the question of what it really means to have control over your own life" (Naomi Ishiguro, author of Escape Routes).
Born in Scotland, Elizabeth Macneal is a writer and potter based in London. The Doll Factory, Elizabeth's debut novel, was an international bestseller, has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and has been optioned for a major television series. It won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018. Circus of Wonders is her second novel.
"A tremendous read. Richly imagined, vividly rendered, each scene is like an old painting in which light gleams off the detail . . . The story is full-bodied and addictive from the outset, told with pace and verve but never compromising style . . . CIRCUS OF WONDERS displays in abundance everything readers loved about THE DOLL FACTORY . . . an ambitious, enlightening novel." - Emma Stonex, author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS
"Macneal develops an intimate tale of passion, longing, and self-preservation." - Kirkus Reviews
"Macneal successfully balances thrilling action sequences with poignant passages...The author brings her fully developed characters to life, highlighting the exploitation of people with visible differences during Victorian times. This makes for a worthy spectacle of its own." - Publishers Weekly
"Soaring . . . A great pick for book clubs and all those seeking a wondrous story awash in atmospheric details and fully lived characters." - Booklist