Not what I expected. I love historical fiction. I particularly enjoyed how performing and Coney Island played a role in the story. I find this interesting and fascinating. All the characters lives were connected. Their stories were expertly woven together. Many unexpected turns and surprises. Not for ultra conservatives. But if you enjoy a strong narrative with distinct characters that come out the other end of a story stronger and a new person, you may want to consider entering the Church of Marvels. A truly original novel.
The story is real for me. The time period. How difficult life was then, mistakes much like today. The lives with so much pain, yet survived. Everyone so well cast. The plot with all it's twists, yet always going forward. I enjoyed how each character has a very different life experience, and yet is needed for the whole. This is deeper book than l usually read. I do appreciate the research of how people were treated then. The best was the conclusion. Pulled a lot of unanswered questions together, which for me, made it whole.
This story is a true adventure! The story itself, as well as the writing, does not fit into any pigeonhole. It is unconventional, brave and risky and the author accomplishes her task with style, Reading this book demands your full attention and willingness to travel into circumstances unfamiliar to most 21st century readers. If you are a brave reader, go for it!
After finishing "The Book of Speculation" my expectations were high for another interesting and moving read about the circus/freak show life and while there are undertones in this book, there isn't a strong foundation. Nonetheless this was a good read, interesting enough to keep the pages turning and a few unexpected turns but a lot of tidy intertwining of lives and story lines. There is so much to be read and written about New York in the early years; the asylums, the opium dens, Coney Island... this is just another piece in that never ending puzzle.
A book about the Underbelly of New York. Full of people your parents warned you about who feel strangely like friends and family. The characters in this book are sword swallowers, unwed mothers, women in mental asylums, thrown away babies, street fighters, homosexuals and cross dressers, people with to many limbs and a variety of the broken and unwanted. It is a story about surviving against the odds. There are many twists and surprises and I was sometimes a little confused but everything was explained in the end. I totally enjoyed it and am still thinking about it.
I love a good historical fiction, and this did not dissappoint. Like other reviewers i was expecting a story about a freakshow, and it wasn't that so much. Its much more about New York City in the late 1800s in general. The story is well written and the different characters' storylines intertwine in unexpected ways. The subject matter can probably be best described as "seedy", so if things like drug use, prostitution, and homosexuality make you uncomfortable , then this probably isnt your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. Definitely not predictable, definitely worth a read.
Very interesting. Plenty of plot twists, good character development . Love the way it comes to a conclusion. A novel of turn of the century New York with all the darkness and reality of that era. I loved the way the characters intertwined with each other. Plenty of surprises too. It is rooted in some dark and touchy topics but it all congeals and makes for an interesting read . She ,the author, is very descriptive but the tale moves along and you don’t want to put it down. I look forward to new work from this author. I recommend this novel....
I was immediately drawn into this intriguing world created and developed by the brilliant writing of Leslie Parry! The reader is swept into an incredible journey through the deepest bowels of the earth, while actually experiencing the sights, sounds and smells as if one actually lived inside the story! The characters' thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears are all brought to life with amazing detail and depth! I would recommend this book to anyone who would be interested in delving into the actual lives of people who sometimes mistakenly were/are always viewed as existing on the fringe of society.