The Circus Rose

The Circus Rose

by Betsy Cornwell
The Circus Rose

The Circus Rose

by Betsy Cornwell


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From a New York Times best-selling author, a queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family. YA fantasy perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Mackenzi Lee, and Laini Taylor.

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328639509
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 704,605
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Betsy Cornwell is the New York Times best-selling author of The Circus Rose, The Forest Queen, Mechanica, Venturess, and Tides. She graduated from Smith College and was a columnist and editor at Teen Ink before receiving an MFA in creative writing from Notre Dame, where she also taught fiction. She now lives in Ireland with her son.
Instagram: @BetsyCornwell

Read an Excerpt


And now!
Ladies, gentlemen, and Fey!


Rosie and I are twins, but half sisters.
      It happened just how you’d guess, of course. Mama loved two men at the same time, and she slept with them both in the same month.
      When our fathers wanted her to choose between them, she left them both before she even knew that we were coming.
      We might as well have the same father, though, for all we saw of either of them as children. Two absent fathers are the same as one.
      But they’re different men, and people do insist on being shocked.
      Mismatched, half-sister twins are one thing. But our mother also being a bearded lady who had worked in what she lovingly called “the freak circuit” ever since she was a wispy-whiskered lass of fourteen years old?
      We’re circus through and through, Rosie and I. We never had a chance, not a chance, to be anything else.
      Rosie’s born to the performer’s life, though, in a way that I never was. I think she always feels a little cold without the heat of a spotlight on her skin. When she walks the tightrope with her arms outstretched, that wide, easy smile on her face, it’s as restorative for her as sunbathing. She floats between trapezes like a mermaid through a sunny sea, without a thought that the air would let her fall. And even when she’s simply dancing . . . oh, she shines.
      She shines, and the world basks in her light.
      I stick to the shadows.
      I switched teams, stepped out of the spotlight, and became a stagehand as soon as I realized I could. Mama, thank goodness, was kind about it. She killed off her double-act dreams without complaint, at least to me, and she asked the stage crew to show me the ropes, in both senses of the phrase.
      So I got to be behind the spotlight, and Rosie in front.
      Even then, of course, we shared it.

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