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On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn't allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She's never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it's for Lilly's own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time - and sold to the circus sideshow.
More than two decades later, 19-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents' estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.
At first The Barlow Brothers' Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this ragtag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus' biggest attraction...until tragedy and cruelty collide.
It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly's fate and her family's shocking betrayal and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last. Moving between Julia's and Lilly's stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Emily on 08-08-17
If you're sensitive to animal cruelty don't listen
I suppose if this author wanted me to feel something, the goal was achieved. The book is nothing but heartbreak after brutal heartbreak.
At the end they try to smooth it over with flowers and foals but it's not successful. A good book is one that you can read over and over again. This is a book that makes you want to throw your phone at the wall.
I would not recommend this to any one.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful