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
Cambron (The Butterfly and the Violin) seesaws between story lines and time periods in her latest novel. Fleshing out the life of the enigmatic Mable Ringling (wife of American circus entrepreneur John Ringling, of Ringling Bros. fame), Cambron fictionalizes a great deal, including how the couple met, while sprinkling in some historical facts. In the second thread, Lady Rosamund Easling's prized Arabian horse is purchased by the circus, and she leaves England and a prospective suitor to follow the animal to America. Mable and Rosamund have a few brief encounters, but primarily these are two separate stories of strong and determined women who boldly leave their pasts in search of fulfillment. Both end up in the shadow of the big top, but with much different perspectives. Cambron vividly depicts circus life during the 1920s, when the vast menagerie moved in 100-car trains and the Ringlings were establishing themselves in Sarasota, Fla., society. With a strong supporting cast of friends and family including a nemesis or two the women experience heartbreak, loss, hope, and triumph, all set against the colorful backdrop of the "greatest show on Earth."
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The Ringmaster’s Wife is the latest novel by Kristy Cambron. In this book the readers get to travel around the country and across “the pond” with our characters as they follow their dreams. Armilda Burton is a farmer’s daughter in Moons, Ohio. She wants more out of her life (she is seventeen). Armilda decides to leave the farm and change her name (start fresh). Armilda becomes Mabel Burton and travels to Chicago, Illinois. Mabel finds a position at the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One day she encounters a nice man named John. They walk around the fair and have a good time, but then he is gone. Years later Mabel and her friend, Sally Rivers (a singer) are working in Atlantic City when she encounters John again. John is John Ringling of the Ringling Brothers. We get to see how these two come together and create magic!
It is 1926 in Linton, North Yorkshire, England and Lady Rosamund Easling is rushing home. She ends up with her car in the lake and she is trapped inside. Colin Keary rescues Rosamund from the car that is quickly filling up with water. Rosamund hurries off, but they are destined to meet again. Colin and his friend, Ward Butler show up at Easling Park that evening. Rosamund comes down to the dinner party and there he is. Thankfully, Colin does not mention rescuing her from the lake. During dinner Rosamund finds out that her father is selling her black Arabian horse, Ingénue, given to her by her brother, Hendrick (he died during the war). Colin is there to finalize the purchase. Colin works for John Ringling and his circus. Lord Denton (her father) has to sell the horse to pay his gambling debts, and he is also forcing Rosamund to marry Lord Oliver Brentwood (for money). Rosamund uses Ingénue to do trick riding and bareback riding (her brother taught her) at local fairs and such. Rosamund has a choice to make. She can stay and do what her parents expect of her or she can run off and join the circus! Read The Ringmaster’s Wife to find out what choice Rosamund makes. Will she follow her dreams?
The Ringmaster’s Wife takes us from 1889 through 1929. We get to see how Mable and John found each other and lived their lives, how Rosamund joined the circus, and how the Ringling’s found and helped Colin. It was interesting to see how the Sarasota estate came about (it is now the John and Mabel Ringling Museum). The book was interesting, well-written, and held my attention. There were a few slow bits (like when Rosamund doubted herself), but overall a good book to read and enjoy. It has a Christian theme but it is very light (focuses on forgiveness, trusting in God and his plan for our lives, redemption). I found the second half of the book more entertaining than the first (it focuses on the circus). At the end of the book it provides information on the Ringling Circus (how it came about, the brothers, and the history). I give The Ringmaster’s Wife 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).
I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest evaluation of the book. I will always provide an honest and forthright review no matter how I obtain the novel.