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.
There are authors to whom I gravitate. When I learn they have a new novel I add it to the list of books I want to read. Sometimes, I can be in for a disappointment. Perhaps the story line is unusually weak, or I can’t connect with the characters. Kristy Cambron is one of those authors, and I was most definitely NOT disappointed with The Ringmaster’s Wife.
Cambron’s third book focuses on two women from vastly different backgrounds. Mable left a factory job for Chicago while Rosamund had never worked a day in her life before coming to the USA. The narrative alternates between their perspectives and, although Mabel was real and Rosamund wasn’t, Cambron brings together their stories seamlessly. This is a tale of tragedy, scandal, and jealousy that weaves the fictional with the historical.
The prologue is set in 1929 while the circus is in Kentucky. Word of Mable Ringling’s death has reached the performers and Rosamund is getting ready for her performance. Read it at the beginning of the novel and you’ll interpret it one way. Read it again after you finish the book and you’ll see it very differently. There’s a plot development I never expected. All I’ll say to you is that you should have a Kleenex box to hand.
Go behind the scenes of big top life and experience both the good and the bad of entertaining a new crowd every night. The Ringmaster’s Wife is definitely one of my books of 2016. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse Publicity for my complimentary copy of The Ringmaster’s Wife, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour
Have you read The Ringmaster’s Wife? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)
Publication Date: 07 June 2016
Page Count: 368