The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron


An ounce of courage. A split-second 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 confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, 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 of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. 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, instead choosing 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! – from author’s website.

I love Kristy Cambron’s books for the way she beautifully weaves two stories together set in different time periods. This one is slightly different from her others in that the time periods are closer together and they intersect with the other more directly. The main characters from both periods actually meet and at the end both are in present day. At times, I would have liked more detail to give the stories more depth, but it may have taken away from the intricacy in which the stories were weaved together. Overall it is a touching story of two women from different decades finding love and acceptance primarily set in a circus.

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears


Lydia King knows what it’s like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town’s poor. But with her father’s debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the moral society’s president is her suitor’s mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align. – from author’s website

I was looking forward to this book ever since I was introduced to Lydia in Engaging the Competition. I was interested in the girl who liked to read and was more interested in learning and helping people than in the latest fashions. I thought Nicholas was the perfect complement for her. He pulled at my heart strings with his story and his conviction to help people. I fell in love with their story arc. I also liked that Jagears wrote a sympathetic view of women in prostitution and made them human. The ending was a little disappointing for me, but it was still a nice story and I still enjoyed it.