Author: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins)
Source: Publisher Provided via Litfuse Tour
Publication Date: 2016
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Genre: Fiction; Historical, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
REVIEW: Some novels pull you in with an instantaneous “tug” that grabs hold of your reader’s heart, and refuses to let go long after a well-designed opening. Such was the case with Kristy Cambron’s marvelous gem of a novel. Beginning with the “end” and tumbling back three years prior to the prologue, I don’t think there is ever a dull moment in this novel. Before I step further into my thoughts of ‘Ringmaster,’ let me introduce you to the characters you’ll meet.
Life for Mable Burton hasn’t turned out as she’d have imagined. Even after she left her small-town America home to chase her dreams, as the 20th Century approaches, feeling content continues to elude Mable.
Everything changes when she meets the charismatic John Ringling.
Over two decades later, Lady Rosamund Easling is facing a difficult decision. Her family is pressuring her to marry well, but the life she was born to holds little appeal. Then an American Irishman, Colin, walks into her life. A man she meets by chance when one of her father’s business dealings brings him to their estate. Through a series of events, Rosamund leaves for America with Colin where she becomes a part of the circus family Colin feels so closely connected to. But will she find peace in these dreams?
So you see, it’s the journey we’re after – not the reward. – Kristy Cambron
Counting the ways this novel met and surpassed my expectations is impossible. Every once in a while (and with greater frequency each new book season), there is that one story that, as a book blogger, you find a challenge to write about. Mere words cannot seem to properly convey or compliment the beauty inside their pages. One such novel is The Ringmaster’s Wife. Kristy’s eye for detail and marriage of the two genres (semi-autobiographical and fiction) work effortlessly in a timeless fashion of joy and exotic experiences. The characters are equal parts complex, compassionate and passionate people who are all unforgettable. I loved the way Rosamund searches for her dreams; Collin’s steadfast friendship and support; and the gentle wisdom Mable uses to help support them both.
If I’m being specific, I’ll confess to preferring Rosamund’s story best. Reason being I often find myself preferring the “present” story in duel generation stories. That said the romance of Mable’s story is priceless and beautiful. Both are strong women who I admired greatly not only for who they were, but for the manner in which they faced their fears and challenges. Though once a blank canvas that was but an inkling of an idea for this talented author, the rich tapestry filling in that blank space is remarkable. Everything within these pages proves this novel’s subtle beauty time and again.
Those who love costume dramas (like The Great Gatsby, Downton Abbey or the like) a-la the visual appeal of Water for Elephants or historical fiction in general must read The Ringmaster’s Wife. It’s an absorbing and atmospheric story with the intoxicating age of jazz as its backdrop, all of which takes place under the mesmerizing “big top.”
Synopsis: 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. – Goodreads
Coming Next from Kristy Cambron, The Illusionist’s Apprentice: Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.
Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.
In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.
Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. – Goodreads, March 2017
Sincere thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.