Blog Tour: The Ringmaster’s Daughter by Carly Schabowski

Hello and welcome to another blog tour post, for The Ringmaster’s Daughter by Carly Schabowski, which was officially published yesterday.  I’d like to thank Bookouture for inviting me to participate in this tour!

A blog tour is a virtual book tour, which are especially important in this time of COVID-19. Multiple bloggers agree to write about a specific book in a set time frame. I accepted a free copy from the publisher in exchange for agreeing to post about the book this week.

Circus people don’t ask who you were before, or what god you believe in… when you join the circus, you are family, whatever your past.

Paris, 1940. Twenty-year-old Michel Bonnet lives on the edge of the law, finding work where he can breaking in horses on the outskirts of the city. But when the Nazis invade, Michel takes refuge as a stowaway on a rickety train bound for the rural south. It’s a journey that will change his life forever.

The train is property of Le Cirque Neumann – a travelling circus owned by the troubled and irritable showman Werner Neumann. Neumann offers Michel a job caring for the company’s horses – a lucky break, but with an unusual condition attached. Michel must keep to himself and never speak of what he sees behind the glittering curtain of the big top.

But as Michel finds himself pulled into the strange and wondrous world of the great spectacular it becomes more difficult to keep his promise. Why does the man with the performing monkey never speak, and the sword swallower turn his face away? Who are the silent, shadowy figures who flit like moths between the wagons when the sun is down? It’s clear that Neumann is keeping his performers hidden away… but why?

And how can Michel win the love of the beautiful and exotic trapeze artist Freida – the graceful, green-eyed star of Neuman’s spectacular – when he’s been forbidden to even meet her gaze?

A heartbreaking and uplifting wartime novel– perfectforfansof Water for ElephantsThe Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

My thoughts

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I’m generally not a reader of WWII fiction. I chose this one because of the circus storyline. It’s a stunning story based on actual events. A young man fleeing Paris before the Germans arrive hops aboard a train, not knowing it is a traveling circus troupe. While there are parts that are whimsical, for the most part this is a gritty story grounded in reality. It’s a bit more gruesome in regards to the war and Nazis than I was hoping, though I’m still glad I read it. I enjoyed getting perspectives of people outside of Germany as the war was starting. This novel is also very much about how things aren’t always as they appear. Everyone has a backstory you don’t know until they trust you enough to share it. I recommend it for readers of literary fiction and historical fiction. 

About the author

Carly Schabowski worked as a journalist in both North Cyprus and Australia before returning to Oxford, where she studied for an MA and then a PhD in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. Carly now teaches at Oxford Brookes University as an associate lecturer in Creative Writing for first and second-year English literature students. Follow her on Twitter  @carlyschab11

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