Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fiction Book Review: The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron

About the book: 
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 Review:
A few months ago my daughter and her two children invited me to tag along to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. I hadn't been to the circus in years. As we sat in the stands, I thought about how much practice and discipline the performers must have. When Kristy Cambron's latest novel, The Ringmaster's Wife, became available for review I was delighted to give it a read. Kristy does a beautiful job weaving history with fiction. I enjoyed the wide variety of characters and learning about life in the circus in the nineteen-twenties. The Ringling's home of  Ca d' Zan in Sarasota, Florida plays a backdrop for part of the story. What fun to read about Mabel's home and her generous heart. Without giving away anything, I want to say that I loved Rosamund's story. I am a fan of Downton Abbey. Following Rosamund's path reminded me of some of Downton's story lines in the last season, that of adventure and a new freedom for women. Kristy Cambron did an amazing job with research. I could tell she'd submerged herself into the era by the description and overall feel of the book.  If you enjoy historical fiction, the circus, or just a good story, give The Ringmaster's Wife a read. It's a book to be savored and enjoyed. I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews' "Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)" for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.


  1. I also enjoyed this book and wrote a positive review here I did find the novel a bit uneven. I loved the flashbacks to Mable and John's story, but Rose's time seemed to jump forward a bit too quickly and she did not seem to understand much of what was happening to her. Still I enjoyed the book and think Cambron is a talented writer. I read your bio, and was wondering. Do you work in a college or university library? You say academic but do not say what level. I was a secondary English teacher and then the librarian for the same rural school district. I've been retired 5 years and still miss the libraries, especially opening the boxes of new books. Getting new books to review in the mail. helps. Hope you can stop by my blog sometime. I will be visiting yours again.

    1. Hi Sue, I work at a 2 year college library that is a branch of a large university. I am the one who gets to order and catalog the new books. It is one of my favorite parts of the job. I worked in an elementary library for 9 years. I still miss the children's books! I do enjoy reviewing and finding a package in my mailbox. Have you thought about volunteering in your local library? That might be fun. Thanks for stopping by! I'll check out your site, too.


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