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Summary

Paris, 1940. The city of lights has gone dark. 

Twenty-year-old Michel Bonnet lives on the edge of the law, finding work where he can breaking in horses on the outskirts of Paris. But when the Nazis invade, Michel takes refuge as a stowaway on a rickety train bound for the rural South of France. 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? 

An emotional and uplifting wartime novel - perfect for fans of Water for Elephants, The Nightingale, and The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

©2020 Bookouture (P)2020 Bookouture

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This book was easy to listen to but the story was somewhat poor. A few holes in the plot and characters not very well developed

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  • Star Trek it's not
  • 28-07-22

Kept waiting for it go get better

This book is super slow. It also seems like it's written by someone who has a high school level of knowledge about WW2 and has never been to the circus. Kind of has the vibe that the author saw Greatest Showman and then wrote a book about the circus with only that as the research. The book has a frustrating ending.

The narrator was okay. He did a good job but I wish they would have hired a French guy to narrate it instead of having a British guy speaking in a French accent the whole time. He was a bit monotone but definitely not the worst narrator I've come across.

I don't regret buying this book. It's an interesting concept but the book was pretty one note.

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  • A. Heath
  • 12-02-22

Lovely, poetic, bittersweet

This story is lovely, poetic and like life, bittersweet. Some reviews felt that the ending was hard to believe. I did not find it so. I have taught history and if you are a student of history, if you love history, you must know that life is full of the “hard to imagine”. I loved the story and I loved the writing! It was inspired by a true WWII story. We have a Holocaust Museum in our small city. The stories of grief and amazing survivals are many. The Ringmaster’s Daughter is one.

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  • Forrest
  • 10-02-22

great story great narrator

great story great narrator
first in a series
that was a disappointment
wrapped up well enough to be complete-ish.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-01-22

Beautiful!

This book is beautifully written and very well narrated. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

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  • Karen Owen
  • 10-01-22

WWII fact-based story

It began slowly for me, trying to sort out characters but grew on me. Great surprise ending!

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  • paula wright
  • 05-11-21

I almost returned this book several times

Hard to get into. Boring didn’t see the point . But so glad I stayed with it. What a great love story against all odds. I found the circus characters so interesting. I’ll look for more from this author