Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Harlequin via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Summary: A young girl who has been thrown out for getting pregnant out of wedlock, finds her salvation in a circus, making its way through war torn Europe. There she meets an unlikely friend in Astrid, an aerialist who has grown up in the circus, but as a Jew, is also seeking refuge. Both have lost their families in one way or another, but find a new family in each other.
Review: I so wanted to love this book, to fall to pieces over it. After all, I love historical fiction, particularly if it’s set in World War II, but this book just didn’t do it for me. The writing was fine. The story was fine. But I really didn’t like Astrid, and I had a hard time buying into some of the decisions she made towards the end. It’s hard for me to imagine having something you want so badly in the palm of your hands and becoming so distraught that you’d toss it away like it was nothing. Regardless of the surprise ending (and it was certainly a surprise to me), she risked something precious when nothing she did would have made a difference and she knew it. She got very, very lucky in the end. And at a great cost to Noa, I might add.
No, I did not love this book. It was fine. Only fine. I was anticipating so much more. And there are just so many books set in World War II that are emotional and profound, that leave their mark on you, and that is what I was looking for. But I was left wanting. And I feel so badly about that because it seemed so promising. C’est la vie.
As I side note, I feel like I should mention that I realized something while I was reading this book: I don’t like the circus. I always knew I didn’t enjoy the actual circus, but I thought as a background it would be fine. After all, I was mad about The Night Circus. It’s one of my top recommendations! But, that was a magical circus, so maybe that’s the difference. Since then, I’ve read several books with the circus as a background, and I didn’t have much love for any of them. So, perhaps my lackluster feelings about this book are partially to do with that. Maybe if you love the circus, you’ll have a better experience with this book than I did.