As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by Fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety or ninety-three, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an un-trainable elephant who was the great hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
Fine Printings’ Review
This book came to us as a recommended read from several sources. Once selected, we could not possibly put it down. The author, Sara Gruen, builds the detailed and fantastic world of a travelling circus during the Great Depression from the ground up! The story of Jacob Jankowski is one of sorrow, love and at times terrifying. His constant emotional struggles can be related to by many readers (though perhaps not as fantastical) and will captivate the imagination. The other characters Gruen constructed are perhaps the most remarkable outside of young Jacob, as with any circus, they all act their parts accordingly … with flawless precision.
One does not need to be a circus aficionado or historical reader to take pleasure in this novel, for it contains a little of everything to captivate any bookworm. We guarantee you will not be able to put this one down!