Author: Sara Gruen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publish Date: May 2007
Personal Rating: 5 stars
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About the Book:My Review:
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.
It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
I absolutely loved this book. This is my go to book recommendation for anyone who wants a book to read, given no other parameters.
I liked that the book was told from the older Jacob’s point of view and his younger point of view. I liked Jacob’s character both young and old, but especially the older Jacob. What a fiesty man!
The book was definitely dark, but enjoyable. It got into what went on inside the circus when it was up and running and all a fairytale. I was hooked by all of the characters and what each of them was struggling with. I did not like August at all, as I guess most would feel, and Marlena was not real likeable, but I didn’t hate her. I thought that she and Jacob had a beautiful love story going on.
There were lots of suspenseful moments in the book that made me want to keep reading. Many times I could believe what had happened and just had to keep going (like the train ride). It definitely was a page turner and a quick read for me. I love historical fiction that is written with such a great story that I’m able to capture the few facts about history.