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Book Review: The Circus of Ghosts by Barbara Ewing

The Circus of Ghosts by Barbara Ewing

What a fabulous historical fiction novel this is! It is utterly delightful and charming, with fantastically memorable characters and an engaging and original plot. Set in New York in the late 1840s, it follows the story of actress and mesmerist Cordelia and her daughter Gwenlliam and their lives in the brash and beautiful circus of Silas P Swift. Gwenlliam soars above the crowd as a beautiful acrobat. Cordellia electrifies the crowds with her hypnotic performance as the circus’s star act. Cordellia and her daughter have escaped notoriety in London, but trouble follows them when a venomous old Duke decides to take action. He hires an unscrupulous lawyer to follow them to New York with the dastardly intent of murdering Cordellia and abducting Gwenlliam. But his job is going to prove difficult in the tough streets of New York...

This is a wonderful novel and Barbara Ewing brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of a tumultuous New World America – with people willing to take great risks to make their fortune in a rugged, wild country. As well as Corellia and Gwenlliam, the author also creates an endearing cast of characters with their extended family and friends – a ragged bunch of people who you really care for. The Circus of Ghosts follows on from Barbara Ewing’s acclaimed book The Mesmerist – but you certainly don’t need to read the first book beforehand. Simply read The Circus of Ghosts for the wonderful romp that it is.

#bookreviews #historicalfiction

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