The Ringmaster’s Wife


The Ringmaster’s Wife
Written by: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: HarperCollins
Month, Year: June, 2016

A brief summary from Kristy Cambron:
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.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

My Thoughts:
I’m disheartened to say that I have mixed feelings about The Ringmaster’s Wife. Looking at the book itself, the cover is extremely eye-catching with the main character in the center of the circus ring. My excitement gained traction when I read the plot summary: horses and a traveling circus act – winning!!! But as I started to read the novel, I found myself becoming thoroughly confused. Perhaps it was because I was reading this on my Kindle app, but I had an extremely hard time keeping track of what year each chapter was in and who was speaking between the 3 main characters: Rosamund, Mable, and Colin.

For example:

  • Chapter 5 – 1893 Mable
  • Chapter 6 – 1926 Rosamund
  • Chapter 8 – 1904 Mable
  • Chapter 9 – 1926 Colin

I would have preferred an easier timeline to follow instead of all the back and forth. Eventually, all the timelines meet up, but that’s not until around 3/4th of the book has been read.

Even though I’m not a fan of the timeline style, I found The Ringmaster’s Wife to be exquisitely detailed and entertaining! I especially loved meeting Nora, one of the circus’ elephants (I LOVE ELEPHANTS!!!) and laughed at the imagery Kristy used as a parade of elephants walked past the train, each trunk wrapped around the tail of the elephant they trailed behind. I wish I could have actually seen that! The characters themselves, I really enjoyed too. Despite their different backgrounds and social standings, they all find themselves immersed into the life of a traveling circus and I loved that!

This is my first novel from Kristy that I’ve had a chance to read. I’m interested to see what her other works are like as I loved the way she brought her characters to life, the plot line as a whole, and the intricate details she described. I say give this one a whirl and read away!

I was graciously provided a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. 


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