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Publisher's Summary

From the #1 internationally bestselling author of the “lush, evocative Gothic” (The New York Times Book Review) The Doll Factory comes an atmospheric and spectacular novel about a woman transformed by the arrival of a Victorian circus of wonders—“as moving as it is deeply entertaining” (Daniel Mason, New York Times bestselling author).

Step up, step up! In 1860s England, circus mania is sweeping the nation. Crowds jostle for a glimpse of the lion-tamers, the dazzling trapeze artists and, most thrilling of all, the so-called “human wonders.”

When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders pitches its tent in a poor coastal town, the life of one young girl changes forever. Sold to the ringmaster as a “leopard girl” because of the birthmarks that cover her body, Nell is utterly devastated. But as she grows close to the other performers, she finds herself enchanted by the glittering freedom of the circus, and by her own role as the Queen of the Moon and Stars.

Before long, Nell’s fame spreads across the world—and with it, a chance for Jasper Jupiter to grow his own name and fortune. But what happens when her fame begins to eclipse his own, when even Jasper’s loyal brother Toby becomes captivated by Nell? No longer the quiet flower-picker, Nell knows her own place in the world, and she will fight for it.

Circus of Wonders is “a beautifully told and immersive look at a complex dance between exploitation and empowerment, and the question of what it really means to have control over your own life” (Naomi Ishiguro, author of Escape Routes).

©2021 Elizabeth Macneal. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Circus of Wonders

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Nope. Pass.

I guess it's my fault for expecting that any circus-themed book will reach my expectation of the Night Circus (which I adore to no end). This book started off okay but about halfway through - I started to lose interest fast. Also, how many times can one say "Jasper Jupiter" in one book? Ugh.

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I was very disappointed by the lack of character development. I never truly cared about any of the characters in the story. I thought they were all very flat and one-dimensional. The plot was also disappointing. The pacing was very slow. And the big mystery that finally is revealed is not so very big. I was really looking forward to this audiobook. I like the narrator's voice but I didn't think she did a very good job of narrating. There was a constant breathy excitement to everything.

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Interesting but depressing

Great characters but bleak story. At least one loose end at the conclusion (the Jackal)

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Couldn't Love this more!

I thought this was a fantastic and unusual story! Set in the 1800's from the viewpoint of the circus performers. I didn't want it to end so I really took my time. I had to ration myself only a chapter or two at a time! Otherwise I would have binged it in a single day. Great characters. Great story. Great reading performances.