The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron (Book Review)The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron
Pages: 356
My Rating three-half-stars
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What is revealed when you draw back the curtain of the Greatest Show on Earth?

Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.

Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life – one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. She abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner – an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers’ circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ winter home—Ca’D’Zan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she’s been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.

With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings’ big-top world, Rosamund’s journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America’s Roaring ‘20s—a journey that forever changes what one life might have been.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. This post includes affiliate links which help support Far Beyond Love.

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron caught my attention on NetGalley months ago because the storyline weaves in with the history of the Ringling Circus. I grew up in south Florida, about 30 minutes from the Ringling House/Museum, and there’s always been a bit of an interest in the circus world because of it.

I’m not going to climb up on a animal-rights soapbox right now but I will concede to the conflict that exists because of loving the circus and despising how circus animals are historically treated. I have never attended a circus and that may be why I find myself so fascinated by the use of the circus world as a primary setting in books like The Ringmaster’s Wife. It feels so magical! I know it’s real but still it feels like a fantasy world I can kept swept up in without guilt or remorse. I requested it from NetGalley the moment I saw the cover because it’s gorgeous. I didn’t bother to read the summary before asking for a copy of it nor did I know of Kristy Cambron although she apparently has a popular series on the market.

Once I received access to the book I felt buyer’s remorse. I loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and was so afraid of comparisons. I didn’t want to fall into that trap of comparing The Ringmaster’s Wife to Water for Elephants so I kept putting it off longer…and longer…and longer. After trying a couple of books that totally let me down I finally decided to start reading it and it was fantastic! 

I mean, it was fantastic once you get past the overly flowery and opulent language. At times it felt like Cambron was being so try-hard with her writing. It became tedious and annoying. There were times I felt disconnected because Cambron was relying on this heavy-handed lavish language to capture the magic of the circus amidst the roaring 1920’s in America. Sometimes I just wanted her to get to the point or the story to move along. I didn’t need so many of the filler descriptions and I found myself skimming some of the sections to get back to the plot.

I’ve noticed a lot of “chick-lit” novels have that same kind of over-the-top language so maybe it’s something that most readers can overlook. I tend to read mostly historical fiction and this one blurred the line between historical fiction and women’s fiction. It relies on historical references and historical fact to fill in the setting around Rosamund and her new life. It read more like a women’s fiction novel though. 

[bctt tweet=”Looking for a magical new book set in the roaring 1920’s? This sounds like a great read! #books @ashleyfromfbl” via=”no”]

The story itself is fabulous! Rosamund is such a wonderful character and her interactions with America during the 1920’s and her new circus life were so much fun to follow. She had such spirit about her! Mrs. Mable Ringling is also a prominent character and Cambron did an excellent job bringing her to life and making her speak and behave exactly as I have always imagined. You can tour the Ringling House in Sarasota, Florida and hear a lot of stories about Mrs. Ringling. Cambron brought a lot of those stories to life and that helped me really fall for this book.

Overall, I absolutely recommend reading it and I think you’ll fall in love with it too. You can get it here on Amazon (and I recommend the hard cover version because this is definitely one you’ll want to display on your shelves!).