The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Fiction, 2011)

Summary: In Victorian London, a circus appears only at night. Clad in only in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves (the Circus of Dreams) appears magical. What the spectators do not know is real magic is performed here. What the performers do not know is a secret contest exists within the circus, a contest that can only have one victor.

Prospero the Enchanter has known Alexander for a very long time. Both students of magic, the two propose a contest to train two apprentices to participate in a test of magical skills. When Prospero is introduced to his unknown his daughter for the first time, he immediately believes she can win. Bound to each other from childhood, Celia (Prospero’s daughter) and Marco (Alexander’s apprentice) face off in one of the most enchanting and mystical contests of all time.

Fast forward to the late 19th century and we meet Bailey. Young, a dreamer, and miserable at home, he becomes enchanted by the circus as a child and is drawn to its reappearance when he is an adult. Both of these moving stories come together in an intricately woven plot that is suspenseful, magical, and enduring.

Review: Morgenstern’s first novel is a truly unique piece. Though probably not for staunch realists, it should appeal to anyone who is willing to let themselves connect with either the characters or the plot.


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