An ounce of courage.
A leap of faith.
Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.
In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confi nes of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.
A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.
When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.
A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!
“Vibrant with the glamour and awe that flourished under the Big Top in the 1920s, The Ringmaster’s Wife invites the reader [into] the Greatest Show on Earth.” —Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of The Lady and the Lionheart
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping Series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal’s Best Books, RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.
Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.
To stay connected, visit www.kristycambron.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Ringmaster's Wife
By Kristy Cambron
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Kristy Cambron
All rights reserved.
Three years earlier
North Yorkshire, England
Air turned to water.
It rushed over Rosamund's head in a torrent, curling and mocking as it dragged her with the current. She flailed her legs in a bevy of kicks as it rolled, fighting to keep her head above water.
Hers was a foe of muddy brown, a once peaceful brook that flowed under the old cobblestone bridge on the road to Linton. But it had swollen to a near raging river with the last heavy rain, engulfing her the instant her motor had veered off the country road and tumbled down the embankment with a great splash.
How fortunate it was that she still wore men's riding trousers. At least it afforded her some movement of her legs in the water, though not enough that she believed she could reach safety.
The current surged, plunging Rosamund into its depths again. It continued surging. Tugging at her legs first and then pulling her along like a rag doll tossed in the open sea. Her back went deeper. Then her shoulders. Her head. She felt her hair billowing around her neck like thick twines of seaweed.
The rush of water, then fear.
Her thoughts were urgent, her mind signaling the deepest sense of danger. Was this it, she wondered, the blackness of one's thoughts at death?
Exhaustion in body, mind, even her soul, threatening to be called away.
The brown murkiness deadened the burning pain in her legs, fighting to muddle her mind and body into submission.
"Hello — you there!"
The shout rocked her senses.
Though still bobbing about like a cork in a bucket, Rosamund felt renewed strength to nudge her chin up out of the water. She scanned the banks on either side, frantically looking for anything that stood out beyond roiling water and dense thickets of autumn- painted trees.
Another shout. This one was closer. Bold. Echoing from up ahead.
Thank You, God ...
She'd heard the voice clearly this time and met a man's fixed stare from the bank on her right.
He'd braced himself against a felled tree, one arm hooked around the trunk and the other reaching toward her, tense and ready to grasp her as she was swept by.
He shouted again. "Take hold of my hand, all right?"
Rosamund tried to nod as a rush of the current splashed in her face. She shook her head out of it, coughing as her hair splayed across the bridge of her nose. She brushed it back with the swipe of a hand.
He seemed to pause for a second when his eyes fell upon her face up close. Yet he responded with determination, willing her hand to connect with his. Though her energy stores were all but tapped clean, Rosamund reached out and locked hands with his at the wrist. His grip was iron.
"Good. Now swim to me," he shouted, willing her to accept his word. "I'll not let go of you."
Rosamund lunged forward, falling into his grip.
The felled tree extended from a mossy bank, with water that grew shallower as it edged to shore. The man carefully maneuvered the pair of them back, trekking his free hand along the trunk.
When Rosamund felt the familiar sensation of stones beneath the soles of her boots, she lurched forward, drifting with the softening current until they were out of the water. She fell upon the bank on all fours, coughing against the ground as if mud and scrubby brush were her long-lost friends.
She untangled the long ropes of hair from one of her suspenders and swept them over her shoulder, then collapsed on the ground, relishing the glorious feel of earth beneath her.
"Miss? Are you all right?"
Rosamund felt a hand just graze her shoulder. Even over the sound of the rushing water behind them, she heard a notable Irish brogue in the man's voice. She turned to meet it, finally able to take a look at her rescuer.
The man knelt in a patch of fallen leaves at her side, his blue eyes fixed upon her. He remained calm. Quiet. Soaked to the skin himself but concerned, it seemed, only with her welfare.
"I'm fine," she answered, though fighting the ever-present burn of water in her throat. "Or I will be —" She coughed, then shook her head. "In a moment."
"Think you're keen to stand?" he asked. He offered his arm and Rosamund accepted it gratefully so he could help her rise up on shaky legs.
"Stars above ... You got him!"
Rosamund glanced up as a second man appeared on the ridge.
This man was young — perhaps not yet twenty, with round wire-rimmed glasses and sandy hair that flopped down over his forehead. He held a bundle of clothing under his elbow, but dropped it straightaway and bounded down the hill. His work boots scuffled over protruding roots and fallen leaves, sending stray trails of dirt to roll down the hill with him.
"Is he all right?" he asked, winded as he stopped in front of them.
"He is a she —" The man who'd rescued her corrected the assumption with a controlled whisper. "But yes. She's going to be fine."
"Miss." The young man addressed her with a quick nod in her direction, but wasted no time in continuing. "You're as crackers as they say, Colin. Jumping into the water like that!"
"You saw the motor go down the bank. What other option did we have?" He paused, softening his tone. "And please mind your choice of words in front of the woman who mightn't have been saved otherwise."
The man named Colin still stood anchored at her side, though his gaze was fixed upon the twists and turns of the water before them. With a gentle warning squeeze that he was releasing her elbow, he drew back and took several steps toward the water's edge.
"Ward, you'll have to stay with her."
"Where are you going?" The young man shook his head. "The auto's a lost cause. We'll have to hire men from the village to get it out."
Her rescuer continued scanning the surface of the water. "Not the auto." He dropped his voice. "I'm going back for the driver. Even though he hasn't surfaced, we can't leave the poor soul behind."
Rosamund had been wringing water from the tips of her hair, but snapped her head up at his words. "My driver?"
"This must all be very distressing for you," the younger of the two added, looking like he might have been able to summon just enough gumption to frown at the other gentleman for mentioning the ill-fated driver with such indelicacy. He turned to Rosamund. "Don't fret, miss. We'll see you to the safety of the village first."
Rosamund swallowed hard over the growing lump in her throat as an all-new rush of anxiety enveloped her. "Sir, I ..."
How could she possibly explain the circumstances without giving herself away? If her parents learned what she'd been up to, she'd be locked up in the manor for the rest of her days.
She cleared her throat. "There's no one else there," she said, tipping her chin a fraction higher. "I'm the driver."
"You? Well, this English plot of ours just thickened," the younger man said, looking on with eyes wide and a charm-filled grin that washed down over his face as the truth sank in.
The man named Colin, however, gave little away.
His dark hair lay just tipping over his eyes, with which he now studied her in a most open manner. Rosamund detected the tiniest shred of hesitation as he watched her, doubt that was confirmed when he braced his arms across his chest, as if working things out in his mind.
"Miss." Colin inclined his head. "You're shivering."
The rush of an autumn wind flooded around them then.
It carried the reminder that winter wasn't far off from their October sky. The distant rumble of thunder sent another shiver to tend the length of her spine, and Rosamund remembered all at once that she was wet, cold, and quite in need of a way out of her present mess before a storm muddled the situation still further.
"I hadn't realized ..." She wrapped her arms round her middle, trying to calm the thoughts bouncing off every corner in her mind.
"Ward. Can you fetch my coat? I dropped it along the bank somewhere back there."
The young man nodded, then trekked up the rise to retrieve it.
He tossed the garment down to Colin, who caught it, then took a step forward.
"It'll be too big, but at least it's dry."
She accepted the coat with trembling fingers. From the events that had taken place. Or the cold. Likely both.
"Thank you." Rosamund pulled the coat up round her shoulders, trying her best to hide her hands beneath the lapels, lest her rescuer see the evidence of how shaken she truly was. "It's kind of you."
"We should see you back to the village," Colin began, his tone even. In control.
She tried not to notice his ongoing inspection of her, even with the coat having swallowed her down to the knees.
"Of course," Ward chimed in. "We can drop you off on the way to our business meeting."
"What he means to say is that after the accident you've just been through, it wouldn't be gentlemanly of us to go on without introduction and the offer of assistance home. I'm Colin Keary." He inclined his head in the other gentleman's direction. "And this is my associate, Mr. Ward Butler. And now that we know there's no one else lost in the wreckage of the motor, we'd like to offer what help we can."
"No thank you," Rosamund said. "I'm fine."
The men exchanged glances, the coy declaration serving only to pique their interest further.
"And you are ..." Ward tipped his eyebrows in question.
"Rose," she said very simply. She wasn't sure why she'd said it, except that the pet name from childhood was the first one to come to mind.
"Well then ... Rose." Colin paused. "We ought to be off." He held out his hand, offering to guide her to the top of the steep ridge.
"We can walk you back to the bridge, then we'll take our car to the village. We should see about getting you to a doctor first, then arrange to retrieve your auto later once the weather's cleared."
"No," Rosamund shot back on instinct, leaving his hand extended on air. Her refusal must have been shocking for a tiny slip of a woman to effectively halt two grown men in their tracks.
Ward's eyes grew large. He darted a glance to Colin before asking, with a tone of amusement, "No ...? To which part?"
Rosamund backtracked with a forced smile, hoping to cover her misgivings.
"What I mean to say is that you don't have to go to the trouble of summoning a doctor. I assure you, I'm fine. Just a bit shaken, that's all."
"Of course you are. Understandably." Colin pursed his lips as if noting something he'd chosen not to comment on.
Something told Rosamund that Colin Keary should be worthy of trusting. There was an earnestness in him that couldn't be mistaken, even if he was a stranger. He was older than his companion, Ward — maybe by ten years — and clearly in command. He had rescued her and now was steering the lot of them to calm despite the circumstances.
For that, she knew some explanation was warranted.
"I left an all-day riding party later than I should have. It set me late for an evening engagement, so I stretched the Talbot's engine in hopes that I'd arrive on time. But I misjudged a bend in the road and tumbled down the embankment instead." She squared her shoulders, trying to appear confident and proper instead of entirely aloof. "I didn't wish to bother our driver with such an all-day trip, and now I'm quite relieved he stayed behind. I know it's very untoward, but I ask for your discretion in this matter."
"You've been 'riding all day,' Miss Rose?" Colin asked, scanning the landscape around them. "And yet you have no horse?"
"Heavens. Don't tell me someone has to dive into that river after a horse now." Ward shuddered, as if the thought were too gruesome to entertain.
"My horse has been quite taken care of. I'd already hired a man to see her back to my home," she answered. "And it's not against propriety for a woman to drive through town on her own, horse in tow or not. If that is your meaning."
"On the contrary, it's impressive. It seems almost ... How do you say it over here — revolutionary?" Ward broke in with an easy smile.
Truth be, he was too forward to be anything but American.
"I didn't know English women drove automobiles themselves."
"They don't. Not as a rule," Colin added.
"Are you from Linton, to know how such things are received here, sir?" she asked, hoping to keep the inquisition light while challenging his knowing tone.
"No. We're a little farther off from the English countryside, I'd say."
"Ireland then?" Rosamund responded before she could stop herself, then bit her lip.
"See?" Ward cocked a grin and tipped up an eyebrow in Colin's direction. "She noticed it. I told you the accent comes out when you're riled up."
"I meant nothing by it," she said.
"Ignore Mr. Butler and his lack of tact," Colin responded. "My family is Irish, but not in that way. The Kearys hail from New York. You're in the presence of a couple of Yanks, I'm afraid, in case you couldn't surmise that from this pup's rather loose-lipped manner. First trip out of the country, and he's a bit too eager."
So she was right — about the younger of the two anyway.
Rosamund nodded as the sky once again rumbled with the threat of imminent rain. She edged forward a few steps. "My home is not far from here and my family is expecting me. I really must be going."
"Wait — you can't just march through the woods. It's going to storm," Ward blurted out, directing her to the gray-tinged sky with an accusatory finger. "And we're miles away from anything. Even Linton's a mighty long jaunt from here on foot."
Rosamund shifted her glance from him to Colin.
"Well, I'm already soaked through. A few raindrops and a walk can't possibly hurt me now."
"All right, Miss Rose. No doctor. Will that suit you?" He'd acquiesced, though something still flickered in Colin's eyes. Thunder cracked the sky closer this time, echoing behind his words. He glanced up to the canopy of trees overhead, adding, "But something tells me that despite appearances, you don't live in the village. And since that thunder sounds as though a bit more than a light shower is headed this way, you just might wish to take us up on our offer of assistance. So can I order a car to take you wherever your home is?"
"While I'm sure your offer is well intended —"
"No, it's not," Colin interrupted.
Often. And as it suited him, apparently. As brash as any Irishman she'd have expected.
"My inquisition is to ensure I'm not entangled in something sinister when I have your auto pulled from the creek bed back there. And I'd much prefer not to have an angry husband or father chasing us for compromising your reputation — on these innocent grounds or not. But if you tell me there's nothing to concern ourselves about, then I'll let the matter drop. I'm here on business, and I don't want my employer's name associated with any sort of trouble."
"Is your employer known in Yorkshire then?"
He leaned in, a twinkle flashing in his eyes, and whispered, "My employer is known everywhere, Miss Rose. Even as far off the path as the village of Linton."
"Then I'll pay you for a new suit," she offered, before thinking better of it.
He tipped up his brows, as if to ask, Is it that bad?
"I meant I'll pay for the damage to your suit. And for the obvious trouble to pull the motor from the water. I'll have a man come and meet you to retrieve it this night."
"No payment is necessary, even for a new suit." He paused, a marked lightness now lacing his tone. "Because despite my appearance, the employer I represent very likely has more money than the King of England himself. And I assure you — he likes to manage his own affairs."
He approached her with ease, looking with a direct gaze. She edged a step back.
"I'll see that the motor is put back in order — free of charge."
And with that he nodded and started trekking up the route that led back to the bridge.
He wouldn't have heard it as a compliment, if Rosamund had said what she was thinking in that instant: Colin Keary was certainly an American and an Irishman wrapped into one.CHAPTER 2
Ten-year-old Armilda Burton had never heard the sweet sound of a piano before.
How different it was compared to the deep-chested organ that filled the ceiling vault of their country church every Sunday. This sound was enchanting — with crisp notes that echoed through the spacious rooms and greeted her young ears the moment she stepped through the front door of the ladies' tea parlor.
Armilda had come to Cincinnati with her mother and the ladies in their parish to attend the annual Temperance League meeting outside of their small farming community of Moons, Ohio. She'd never before seen such modern brick buildings and shop after shop teeming with fashionable wares. Why, she'd only ever seen a mere handful of store-bought dresses, outside of drawings in the catalog at the Moons General Store. Stepping into the world of the ladies' tearoom, she felt small and uncultured.
And completely awestruck.
Floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains of crimson were fashioned with gold cords, pulled back like stage curtains hanging against the back-drop of white wainscoting on the parlor walls. Chandeliers twinkled overhead. The arched floor-to-ceiling windows let in an abundance of natural light. A smattering of settees — marvelous in their gold and cream brocade — adorned the front room, and clothed tables with glassware and shining china settings bedecked the garden room beyond. Both rooms carried the light scent of vanilla and lavender mixed with the sharper notes of black tea and citrusy lemon.
Excerpted from The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron. Copyright © 2016 Kristy Cambron. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Review from inkwellreviews.com I had very high expectations for the Ringmaster's Wife. Not only is the cover amazing (yes, I know… don’t judge a book by its cover) but I absolutely loved the Hidden Masterpiece series by Kristy Cambron. I can’t really say if this book met my expectations or not. After I read it, I was a little disappointed. I think I set the bar so high that it was never going to reach it. I honestly don’t think that this book compares to her other ones. I was quite confused at some parts. Since she writes in a way that has two stories in one book, it felt crammed and rushed. I know it sounds like I hate this book but that’s not the case! Other than the fact that it seemed rushed, it was a great read. The storyline was great and the characters were very well done. I love how Kristy Cambron’s stories seem like they could come alive at any minute, so realistic yet so breathtaking. At the end, it has some historical facts about Mable Ringling and the Ringling brothers. I thought they were so interesting. I absolutely love the circus and I am glad that she did her research beforehand. It just made it that much more realistic. I would encourage you to read this book if only to lose yourself in the bright lights and the stunning performances of the circus.
Enjoyed the trek with the greatest show on earth.
When I was in school, many years ago, history was one of my least favorite courses. But now it seems I just can't get enough of great historical accounts -- real or fictional. My favorite stories are those that are based on real characters and events, with the author's imagination filling in the rest of the details. That is exactly what Kristy Cambron provides for readers in The Ringmaster's Wife. The story is built around the life of Mable Ringling and her part in the fascinating history of the Ringling Brother's circus. In a time-hop style, separated by only a few decades, Kristy brings Lady Rosamund Easling, a fictional lady of privilege from England, into the captivating world of America's circus. The splendor and struggles of that life provide the backdrop for this captivating tale. At times, while Lady Rosamund seems to take center stage, it is easy to forget that Mable Ringling is the lead character of the title. But her influence is evident throughout the story as she shares valuable lessons from her own life with those she comes to care for deeply. The Ringmaster's Wife is a great read for -- well, almost anyone!
Kristy Cambron provides us a wonderful glimpse into the backstory of circus life. In contrast to today’s view filtered through the words of animal rights activists and reports of charlatans among the circus community, Cambron shows us a group of people who cared deeply for one another and for the animals in their care. While not all relationships are perfect (why would a circus be any different than any other social group), we see a family-like unit form among the nomadic circus management and employees. The Ringmaster’s Wife is a story of transitions: transitions from what might be considered the ordinary to the extraordinary, from hiding behind masks and costumes to stepping out in the light, from self-doubt to self-assurance, and from self-centeredness to putting others first. Historical and fictional characters mingle together in this book, each taking root in the reader’s heart. Characters that live on long after the book is finished is Cambron’s trademark. As a matter of fact, I had difficulty getting into this book at first because my mind was still deep within her book A Sparrow in Terezin. While this book looks through a different lens than the popular film, The Greatest Showman, the close-knit relationships among those living the circus life and the theme of finding oneself is held in common. I would imagine fans of each will enjoy the other.
"Home can move ", he answered,"as long as your heart goes with it." In this book Rosamund, daughter of an earl and a lady of means, leaves all she has to accompany her horse to his new life in the circus. The horse was given by her brother, who died in the war, and she is not ready to part with it, even though her parents feel that she spends way too much time riding and doing things a well bred lady shouldn't be doing. They are ready to marry her off, for her benefit and theirs. But Rosamund is a free spirit and wants to find her own way in the world. She is not ready to be strapped into a loveless marriage simply for the sake of money. As she follows her horse and her dream to a whole new world, life changes drastically. But through it her courage, faith and sense of fulfillment grow. So does her relationship with a man, she never would have took as husband material. This book was incredible. I learned so much about Ringling Brothers circus, and time period surrounding it. The author captivated me with descriptive observations, historical facts, and much more. I was enthralled throughout the whole thing. In the beginning it took me a few chapters to really grasp the characters, locations, and time frame as she jumped back and forth from different characters and years. But once it got going, I absorbed it like a sponge. I have to tell you, I finished this book in little over 48hrs. It was wonderful. I simply could not put it down for long. So much for housework and other duties I needed to be accomplishing, the book had me hooked, so give yourself time to read, when you open it. This was my first book by this author, but I will definitely be looking for more! I received this book from Fiction Guild free to read. I was not r
This was a very beautifully written novel! It was the first book that I have read by this author and I really enjoyed her writing style. For the first few chapters, I had to work very hard to keep the dual timelines and characters straight. But after getting to know the characters, it was not a problem to time hop through this dual timeline story. In fact, it kept me reading to find out what would happen next! The pacing of the story was leisurely. It was slow, but not in a bad way. As I moved through the book, I appreciated the way the author introduced sections of the story in a gentle way and then hopped to the other timeline and did the same. I guess this could frustrate some readers, but I really liked it. The characters and love stories that developed in both timelines were great. I definitely felt connected to John, Mable, Colin, and Rosamund and hoped for the best for them. The Ringmaster’s Wife kept me turning the pages and invested in the lives of these characters! I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Imagine your grandmother giving you an old cigar box. Inside, you find a handful of old photographs. In the first is a girl, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of an old farmhouse. Another of her standing in front of a fancy building. The next pictures are years later, featuring a different girl. The first shows her on the back of a black horse. Another shows her on a hay bale, with roses in her hair. And last of all, there is a picture of a sky-high, striped circus tent. "Let me tell you a story," your grandmother says. ****** That's how I picture this story. It is a series of snapshots, images from the lives of two different girls. The story follows bit and pieces from their lives, as they grow and change, and eventually intertwine. This is not a plot heavy book; the plot is carried on the shoulders of the characters. The book is all about them, and their interactions--while there is a small mystery involved, it is but a sideshow to the characters. Part bildungsroman, part historical romance, and entirely a story of courage and personal growth. It is set in America, during both the late 1800s-early 1900s, and the 1920s. We see glimpses of the Chicago World's Fair, the Florida Keys, and the Ringling Bros. Circus. The setting isn't developed much in the story. Instead, the reader is given just enough glimpses and hints to set the stage for the characters. The main characters are Mable Burton, a farm girl turned waitress in Chicago during the World's Fair, and Lady Rosamund Easling, a daughter of high society escaping an arranged marriage. While they both have very similar personalities, they are also distinctly different. Mable is running to something, while Rosamund is running away from something. Mable is very sweet and empathetic, and is dedicated to bringing joy to all around her. Rosamund is more reserved, and cautious when it comes to relationships. However, they are both courageous young women. While I can't agree with all of the choices they made, I can see how it grew them and made them better persons. The only criticism I have for this book is the author's style of writing. It was very confusing trying to figure out whose POV is was (it changed often and without warning). Also, a lot of the dialogue tags seemed misplaced, and made it a struggle to figure out who was saying what. Once you settle into the style however, the story sweeps you away. I highly recommend this read to those readers who are all about the characters. It drew me in, and kept me wanting to read more about Mable and Rosamund's lives. This is a hot cup of tea beside a warm fire kind of book. Cozy, sweet, and completely satisfactory. However, for readers who prefer more excitement and plot, they be disappointed in The Ringmaster's Wife. Rating: 5 stars Recommended: Yes. 14 and up. (Younger readers may have trouble following the story, and might lose interest) Content guide: Language: 0/10 Sexual Content: 1/10 (light kisses) Violence: 4/10 (one character is attacked--semi-detailed) Other notes: some characters have drinking problems, but it isn't seen on page. One character has a criminal past. For more reviews, see gabriellenblog.wordpress.com or fullofbooks.com.
The Ringmaster's Wife is an emotion-filled story, rich with historical details, especially details of the Ringling Brothers circus amidst the glamour that was the Jazz Age. Featuring a dual timeline, and the story of two women, Mable Ringling and Lady Rosamund Easling, the novel spans the younger years of Mable's life before the circus is a part of her, up through Rosamund leaving her privileged life back in England to join the circus and the two meeting and connecting over a shared pursuit of a life well lived. While I've read many dual-time novels, this one is unique in that both time lines are in the past. The way both story lines eventually meet up and connect characters, not just Mable and Rosamund is a really well-used device in this story. Mable is a character to be admired, and both she and Rosamund are the epitome of what it means to leave the comfort of the known and go after their true dreams. I do think that this is more of a character-driven, introspective novel. While the plot has a few twists, for me, the novel shines most with it's rich details of life behind the scenes of the circus, as well as Mable's life with John Ringling. Her story served as a reminder that, despite loss and heartache, you can still have a well-lived life. Later it makes a nice comparison to the way that Rosamund chooses to react to a heartbreaking situation and the way she rises above it instead of letting bitterness take hold. This also felt like a very timely read for me, since they recently announced that the Ringling Bros. circus would be shutting down after nearly 150 years. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which I chose to review. I was not required to write a positive review.
I throughly enjoyed my visit to the Big Top and getting to know real life John and Mable Ringling and fictional Colin Keary and Lady Rosamund Easling. The story follows the Ringlings from the late 1800s to the late 1920s. The fictional characters of Colin and Rosamund begin around the early 1920s. Kristy Cambron writes with a back and forth, one chapter to the next telling until all four characters lives are intertwined. Mable and Rosamund are similar in that instead of dreaming of what they want, they go in search of their dreams. They face some loss, some hurt, even some physical pain but also romance in their lives. Also there is an underlying theme of forgiveness for past mistakes and hurts. I enjoyed learning about the time period and the behind the scenes workings of the circus. The author put lots of research and interviews to work to make for a real life telling of not only the Ringling Family but also about the circus. I found myself grabbing my tissues a few times, especially at the end. Emotional, happy, and sometimes sad, all the makings of a really great novel! I received this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review, either positive or otherwise.
I have to confess that I have never been a big fan of the circus, even as a child - loud, brash entertainment and cheap junk food are just not my style. But it hasn't always been this way. Cambron's meticulous research shows us the skill and precision of Ringlings' "Greatest Show on Earth" that made it such a winsome attraction decades ago . And the people who made this machine hum? Well, once again, her characters stole my heart. This book tells the parallel love stories of real-life people, John and Mable Ringling, and their fictional employees, Colin Keary and Rosamund Easling. Each has a heart bruised by their past, and it was captivating to learn how these broken lives came together to find their ultimate happiness under the Big Top. One of my favorite quotes was from Mable: "Having a dream is easy. It's being brave enough to walk the journey every day that sets you apart from the crowd." I think her gentle wisdom and courage that she shared with Colin and Rose is what made this book so special for me. Cambron reminds us that life doesn't have to be perfect to be GOOD! Her characters' efforts to overcome disappointment and setbacks made me want to cheer them on. And as always, there were a few surprises and twists that left me stunned and rereading to get every nuance of the words I didn't expect. I love historical fiction, and Kristy Cambron writes some of the best. Her books take me to new times and places I never thought I'd visit, and capture my attention so thoroughly that (in this case) I could almost smell the candy apples and popcorn! Open this book and discover the identity of The Ringmaster's Wife.
The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron is a standalone novel, and the first that I have read by this author (although not the first of hers that I've seen around--just the first I've picked up). It certainly made a good first impression! This book, I'll admit, was a tad bit hard to get into, but only because there were two different main stories about 20 years apart, and the flip-flopping back and forth got a little confusing. Overall though, once I had the characters and time periods straightened out, it was an incredible book. The story's setting is unique and thoughtful, which I loved. I always enjoyed going to the circus as a kid, and so reading this book almost felt like a behind-the-scenes look into the Ringling Brothers' Circus. It was so, so cool! I know that seems a little lame to say, but really, this is a very neat story. It's set in the early 1900s, where we meet John Ringling and Mable, and then eventually Lady Rosamund of England. I loved how their stories connected, how detailed the descriptions of the backstage circus looked, the descriptions of the performances, everything! It really, really was an incredible book, and it will most likely be one that I'll read again. It's the story of women stepping out and taking hold of their dreams, of not giving up, and of trying new things. It's the story of how their lives were woven together. And it's worth a read. Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson publishers and their Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own, and were not required to be positive. I would recommend this to all ages. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
I just want to say this - did you know I lived in Sarasota, Florida when you asked me to read this book? Probably not but you know I was totally interested the very second I saw this book about the circus! I couldn't wait to get it and I couldn't wait to read it! And let me start out by saying I was not disappointed at all! The circus never ceases to amaze me - every time I've gone I catch myself trying to see which show was up next or how they were setting up and that probably explains why I liked The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron so much. The story itself goes behind the scenes of "the greatest show on earth". The story centers around Mable Ringling who has a chance meeting with showman, John Ringling at the Chicago World's Fair and that chance meeting triggers her destiny - marriage to John and life with him as one of the founders of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Mable is a very kind woman and she touches the lives of people around her as well. When the circus buys a beautiful horse from Rosamund Easling's father, she travels with the horse to the circus and takes a job as a trick rider. Colin Keary is the man who runs the "day to day" operations of the Ringling Brothers Circus and he takes Rosamund under his care to help teach her the ropes. Rosamund finds herself ready to share her love and her heart with Colin but then suffers a tragic accident. Mable Ringling encourages Rosamund and through her kindness, she is able to find her way back to living her life and fulfilling her dreams. It is really great how this book is written based on real people and I found that the author did a great job of making them come to life for readers. The descriptions of the bright lights, the exotic animals and the Big Top felt very authentic, and her description of the Ringling's estate, the Ca'D'Zan, was awesome! I loved Ms. Cambron's attention to details in this book. This was a very interesting (and great) read, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in the circus! I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own - well, they are my mother's and for that, I am responsible.
Saturday, September 3, 2016 The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron, © 2016 "Good afternoon, Mable. I'm John." --The Ringmaster's Wife, 46. An unexpected day. My favorite characters, Colin Keary and Rosamund Easling, were so upheld by Mable Ringling that they were able to realize their worth ~ to themselves and to others. Has there been someone in your life who could see who you could become and encouraged you along the way? Observant, caring, real, available... to love you as you were to become who you are. One taking the time to notice. Colin ~ "You could never fit in, Rose. You were made to stand out." --Ibid., 123. Rosamund ~ It seemed he noticed everyone and everything around him, placing equal value on all. --Ibid., 146. Written so fluidly, you will forget you are reading a book, moving right alongside them. This is an entrancing story of hope and vivid longing not to be denied to go forward. I like how the backstory is given throughout. A young woman venturing to the World's Fair Columbian Exposition in the city of Chicago with her dreams. A solitary young Irish lad gains more than he left behind. An English Rose bareback rider with her horse, Ingénue, enter an unknown Big Top. Overcoming obstacles spread before them, their lives speak aloud amid the greatest show on earth. ***Thank you to author Kristy Cambron and to Fiction Guild for sending me a review copy for the book tour of The Ringmaster's Wife. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Greatest show on Earth. Hope, love, dreams and faith are a few of the themes woven in The Ringmaster's Wife. We were transported between Yorkshire and America, 1885-1929. Mable Ringling: "Having a dream is easy. It's being brave enough to walk the journey everyday that sets you apart from the crowd." We all have hopes and dreams, but if we don't have the courage to follow through on them, it is for nothing. Rosamund had a dream and boards a ship to America with her horse, Colin, a talent scout for the circus, Mable and the rest of the circus family. One continues theme is love. (1st Corinthians 13.) Love is gentle, love is kind, shows how Rosamund (and us) can still love regardless. To always find the"nice" in others even if they are not nice to others. Mable comes from a small town who moves to the city because she wants to see the world and lands up falling in love with a famed showman named John Ringling. Rosamund comes from a wealthy family when her path crosses with Mable and Ringling Brother's glittering world. She makes a life changing decision to leave the comfortable life to become a trick rider in the circus. Take a vacation into the book, hear Nora the elephant, hear the clip-clop of the horses hooves, smell the popcorn, taste the cotton candy, see the bright lights. Carve out some time to be transported to the circus, promise you will not be disappointed.
I have to admit, when I read the information about this book I was unsure if it was the book for me, as it is not the typical storyline or type of book I usually read. Boy am I glad I decided to give it a try, as I absolutely loved it. Kristy’s writing is so pleasant to read. Her descriptions are so lively and divine, and the conversations happened in just the right amount. I don’t like a book that has too much or too little dialogue. It can make the storyline boring, or make me want to skip to the end. This was the perfect balance. I’m not sure who’s storyline I enjoyed the most. I loved reading about Mable and how she came to know John Ringling. It was like I was back in my childhood dreaming about finding a prince to take me out of my poor status. She gave hope to the readers, and never strayed from her thoughts or beliefs, and I think that is what John loved about her the most. But I also liked watching Rosamund grow into this beautiful woman. It just have been so scary for her to leave her family as she did, but she barely showed her fear. I kept waiting for the moment that her relationship with Colin would take that next step, hungering for more from them. Overall I thought this book was outstanding. The writing, the scenes, the characters and the dialogue were all intertwined perfectly. I highly recommend, even if you think this is a little out of your comfort zone! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have given.
Growing up in Tampa, FL, about 45 minutes north of the city of Sarasota, I always knew it was the winter home of the Ringling Bros. circus. I went to the circus every year as a child and was always fascinated by the animals and the amazing acts. But that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of all things Ringling. So when I heard about Kristy Cambron’s latest story, I couldn’t wait to learn more about the people behind the circus. And I was not disappointed. Kristy does an amazing job telling the stories of Mable Ringling and the fictional Rosamund Easling. It was fascinating to read about life under the Big Top and experience what life might have been like in the circus. After reading this story I would really like to read more about the lives of Mable & John Ringling. Kristy Cambron takes the stories of two different women and weaves them together flawlessly, creating a touching and heartwarming tale of how we should never be afraid to follow our dreams. Even when life does the unexpected, Mable and Rosamund learn to trust God’s plan for each of their lives. The book is full of many touching scenes where Kristy’s masterful storytelling transports not only your mind but your heart to a time gone by. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. The next time I go home to Tampa, I plan to visit the Ca d’Zan and step back into Mable’s world. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first Kristy Cambron book that I have read, and I have decided that I may just have to read some more of her books! At the beginning, I was having a really hard time getting into it, because the book starts in the middle of something and then goes back in time (it alternates the going back in time all throughout the book), so I was actually really confused to start with... However, once I got past the first few chapters and figured out what was going on, I really liked it!! My advice to you is hang in there-it may not have a great start, but it gets better. ;) I loved learning more about the circus, and some real life (historical) characters as well as some fictional ones. Now I want to go see the Ringling Museum! :) I felt with the characters-even cried a little, which I don't do a lot of... I would not say it is primarily a Christian book, there are a few references to God, and it is implied that some of the characters are Christians. This is one of the best books I have read this year. (I gave it 4 stars because of the confusing beginning.) I was given this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
I received this book for an honest review from The Fiction Guild. It was a wonderful story about 2 different women who come together because of the Ringling Circus. Mable is from a small town and moves to the big city because she wants to see the world and fall in love with John Ringling and helps in own way with the circus. And there is Rosamund who comes from a family of money and she is a Lady from England. But they come to help each other when they move the winter home of the circus to Fl. Lady Rose has come to America to make sure that the Arabian horse that she once owned is going to be fine and falls in the with the Circus because it gives her the freedom she didn't have in England. Colin found her doing shows on her horse without her family ever knowing. This was a beautiful story and a wonderful ending.
What makes a novel you read one that you would call great? Is one that touches your emotions? Is it one that helps you grow? Or one that takes you away from your mundane life and transports you into another place? Or maybe you learn something? Some books can actually do more than one or perhaps all of the above. It has been a while since a book I was reading touched me to the point of tears leaking from my eyes, but this one did. I got to know the characters, some fictional, but also some real people so well that when they hurt, I did too. I have never been to a circus, not even a midway, and I was not sure how well I would connect with the story. But people are people no matter the background, circumstances or lifestyle and Kristi did well to bring that to the reader. And we all experience the same feelings and emotions, and do well to remember that we are all neighbors, even if we do not live next door to each other or see each other regularly. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to my readers and friends. Thank you to Amy and Chris from Litfuse Publicity Group, the author, Kristy Cambron and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel. I was given a free book for the purpose of writing an honest review. A positive critique was not required.
I often do judge a book by its cover, and I did so in this circumstance. Inside is a wonderful biography about a lesser known women in history. Surrounded by wonderfully quirky circus characters and a nomadic lifestyle, Mabel meets the handsome John Ringing, falls in love with him, and marries. Written in clear, moving prose, I learned about the wonderful relationships and the many kindnesses of Mabel Ringling. The secondary, fictional character in the story is another woman named Lady Rosamund Easling, a wealthy socialite who leaves her titled family and wealth to be with her horse and to join the circus in America. Although the story is not fast paced, it is very interesting and kept me hooked due to the vivid descriptions pertaining to characters and the circus itself. It is filled with emotional happenings and interesting facts. I loved every page of this book as it gave me a glimpse into a romantic way of life that is fading into the anals of history. Highly recommended. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.
Kristy has a very unique way of putting together a story, it is like a beautifully woven tapestry, two worlds that become one. I will be honest, the first half of this book I didn’t really get into. I struggled for some reason. There were times when I read things that pulled me out of the story and I had to go back and reread to see if I missed something. With that being said that second half of the book hooked me and I wanted to keep reading. There is so much depth and beauty to this book, so many truths. I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at circus life and the picture Kristy painted of the Ringling brothers. Mable Ringling is depicted as a strong loving woman and wife. Rosamund and Colin’s story is equally captivating. I struggled with not knowing much about Colin at first. I kept thinking I don’t know anything about him and then Rosamund would think the same thing in the story and I knew there was a reason Kristy didn’t reveal too much too soon, it gave me a better understanding of how Rosamund felt. Faith is woven in lightly but with power. It just shows you don’t need to preach a sermon in a novel to get a point across. The message of identity and brokenness is well done in this book. The end is very satisfying and made me want to visit the places mentioned in this book. Visit Kristy here. Grab your copy at you local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer. A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Another winner by Kristy Cambron. She has proven an expert at honing a story that can tug at the heart while immersing the reader in a new historical setting, the circus world of the 1920's. This is easily one of my favorite reads of the year.
Kristy Cambron burst upon the Christian fiction scene with The Butterfly and the Violin and followed up with A Sparrow in Terezin. These books were magnificent. Soul stirring in their depth. I decided she was an author to follow. She is still writing with depth and her research is great. I look forward to her next endeavor. *I was provided with a copy of this book free by Net Galley for review purposes.