In the early 20th Century, despite the upcoming popularity of movies, the most exciting entertainment was live. Just imagine the thrill of a circus train arriving in the wee hours of the morning and a flurry of men and animals working seamlessly to erect sideshow tents, animal shelters, and then the most impressive big top. Only hours later, calliope music fills the air as exotic animals parade through the town. Who could possibly stay home when you could see acrobats flying, trick horses magicians, colorful clowns, and more? As one character in Kristy Cambron's THE RINGMASTER'S WIFE points out within hours or perhaps a day all will be packed and gone, leaving behind not a trace, not even an advertising poster. Was it but a dream?
Talented and award winning Christian author, Kristy Cambron has selected the magical world of the most famous circus -- Ringling Brothers-- for her newest novel. Combining her brand of meaningful fiction, Cambron weaves a story of a spirited English lady who leaves behind the promise of a titled marriage to follow her horse to the greatest show on earth, along with a speculative look at the lives of the real life John and Mable Ringling. Rosamund cannot bear to be parted from her horse, a special gift from a brother, now deceased. More than that, she cannot bear to think of a life as dutiful wife in an arranged marriage, so when Colin Keary offers her the opportunity to train her horse for the next season of Ringling shows, Rosamund leaves England behind. Soon the sights and sounds of the circus and its winter headquarters in Sarasota, FL are more like home than the estate she left behind. Not much factual information is known about how Mable and John Ringling met and married, but Cambron has chosen to build on what is known about each's personality. Mable was known for her quiet, but generous ways, and this is shown in her interactions with Colin and later Rose (Rosamund's new name). As the story flashes back to the days when Mable and John met, Cambron appropriately paints Mable as an adventurous, but also cautious woman whose dreams took her away from the safety of the farm. The lavish home Ca d'Zan which the couple built in the 1920's in Sarasota, FL is the setting for the initial meeting of Rose and Mable, as the Ringlings entertain some of America's most famous for the Christmas holidays.
I live only 40 minutes from Baraboo, WI, the original home of the Ringling Brothers, and the winter home of the circus until 1918. When I learned that Cambron's new book would feature the Ringlings, I had hoped that Baraboo would be part of the story, but the main circus story takes place between 1926 and 1929, and Baraboo is not part of the backdrop. That omission does not detract from this glamorous and yet heart warming story. In reading, THE RINGMASTER'S WIFE, I wonder if we who are too young to have experienced the great days of the circus, wild west shows, and vaudeville may have missed an exciting part of America's history. Thank you Kristy Cambron for showing us a glimpse of that world and for making it a positive story. I received a copy of THE RINGMASTER'S WIFE from Litfuse for my honest review.