The Circus Train by Amita Parikh published on 12 January 2023: Europe, 1938. Even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the World of Wonders – a travelling circus that traverses the continent in a luxury steam engine. Brilliant and curious, Lena yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, despite the limitations she feels in her wheelchair. But when a young French orphan, Alexandre, comes aboard the circus train, Lena’s life is infused with magic and wonder for the first time.
But outside the bright lights of the circus, darkness is descending on Europe. War is about to shatter Lena’s world, and take away everything she holds dear. And to recover what she has lost, Lena will have to believe in the impossible.
My reading experience:
This is the most evocative book I have read in a long while. It’s difficult to convey the depth of this story; it was so much more than I expected.
This story spans from 1938 to 1952, about the delights of Beddington and Sterling World of Wonders, but more than the passing years, it spans the kaleidoscope of relationships, loves, losses and grief, of secrets, lies and truth.
Extraordinarily, the author brings the reader to a circus community where amongst the diversity there is still prejudice and our protagonist Lena is left lonely and isolated due to her disability. With friendship from an unexpected source, Lena finds belief in herself, a new perspective and a will to not only be the best she can be, but to survive. When Lena’s father and love are captured by the cruel slant of their employer, Horace Beddington The Third, there is much for all parties to overcome.
This is a story of triumph, prejudice, of love and lasting friendship, of devotion and diversity, and loyalty and trust.
I highly recommend The Circus Train by Amita Parikh.