Lena’s father is a famous illusionist with the traveling circus, which sounds like might be the great makings for a magical childhood, but Lena had polio as a child and is confined to a wheelchair. This separates her from the other children at the circus and her life is only filled with books, her studies, and her doctor and nanny. When a young boy, Alexandre, is found unconscious he is put in the care of the doctor who also cares for Lena. While he recovers they become great friends. Theo, Lena’s father, sees the joy Alexandre has brought to his daughters life and convinces the owner of the circus to let Alexandre become his apprentice, thereby keeping him safe and close to his daughter. As they grow up they become the best of friends and are destined to fall in love. Unfortunately WWII is overtaking the European nation’s their train travels to perform and they become separated, but love is destined to survive their trials and separation, or is it?
There were moments of fabulousness in The Circus Train. The friendship between Lena and Alexandre was certainly one of them. Her sweet relationship with her father was another. Lena herself was a force to be reckoned with, striving to overcome her disability and learning how to walk despite the weakness in her limbs. I just felt like after the author set up this novel with these great characters and setting that she got a little lost with where to take them. Yes, there was a war going on and families were separated- so that wasn’t a stretch, but in the middle of the biggest conflict in the book, to have that separation occur so abruptly and then for all of these characters to be separated? I felt like the portion of the novel that fell after that rift happened in a different book entirely. I had difficulty piecing those two parts together and felt a let down.
It is possible that I read this book at a time when I didn’t have the focus to appreciate the journey this author was trying to take me on. Despite that, I can’t help feeling that the second half of the book wasn’t the book this author had intended to write and because of feeling unsettled I can only give this book a three rating. ❤️❤️❤️
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review and it was honest.
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