We can’t believe the day is finally here – Elizabeth Macneal’s second novel, Circus of Wonders, is published today (Pan Macmillan / Picador). This utterly transportive story about a young girl who gets kidnapped by a Victorian circus and is forced to find her own place in the world is the latest offering from the bestselling author of The Doll Factory, and we are so excited for readers to get their hands on a copy.
Circus of Wonders will be published by Simon & Schuster in the US in early 2022, and to this date has been translated into 15 languages. Elizabeth Macneal’s first novel The Doll Factory was an instant success, hitting the No. 1 spot in the Times and becoming the No. 2 bestseller in the Sunday Times. It was a Radio 2 Book Club pick, a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and it was also chosen as Waterstones’ Fiction Book of the Month in March 2020. At the time of publication, Elizabeth Macneal was selected for the Observer’s ‘hottest-tipped debut novelists of 2019′, and the Times deemed it as ‘one of this year’s best debuts’.
Early press reviews of Circus of Wonders have been nothing short of incredible, with the Times commenting ‘Elizabeth Macneal’s marvellous debut, The Doll Factory, was a bestselling success. This second book, beautifully written and filled with character and life, cements her reputation as a new talent‘, and the Guardian deeming it ‘a glittering follow-up to The Doll Factory‘. The Historical Novel Society further noted that it was ‘an enjoyable and engrossing novel, which captivates from beginning to end.‘
Early readers and authors have had wonderful things to say:
‘Dark but tender, evocative and compelling. I loved it‘ Laura Shepherd-Robinson, author of Blood & Sugar
‘A tremendous read. Richly imagined, vividly rendered, each scene is like an old painting in which light gleams off the detail . . . The story is full-bodied and addictive from the outset, told with pace and verve but never compromising style . . . Circus of Wonders displays in abundance everything readers loved about The Doll Factory . . . an ambitious, enlightening novel‘ Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters
‘A glittering, begrimed tale of love and self-determination flush with richly detailed prose. Sumptuous, macabre, enthralling; a perfect slice of Victoriana.’ Jane Healey, author of The Animals at Lockwood Manor
‘Circus of Wonders is confident and beautifully written‘ Sarah Vaughan, author of Anatomy of a Scandal
‘A fantastical, absolutely immersive gem of a read’ Red magazine
The journey to publication has been dazzling, and we were completely blown away by the gorgeous cover reveal of Circus of Wonders:
Drumroll, please! Behold this beautiful cover for @esmacneal's astonishing new novel CIRCUS OF WONDERS. Fans of THE DOLL FACTORY, form an orderly queue – you can pre-order your copy at @Waterstones now: https://t.co/HBQQx9CTI9
🎨 Cover design: Katie Tooke pic.twitter.com/CmfbZE8yEN
— Picador Books (@picadorbooks) January 29, 2021
To celebrate the launch of this sensational new novel, Elizabeth will be participating in a series of celebratory events. The first one is happening tonight, so remember to buy your tickets here and tune in at 7.30pm!
We are delighted to introduce you to Circus of Wonders…
1866. In a coastal village in southern England, Nell picks violets for a living. Set apart by her community because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin, Nell’s world is her beloved brother and devotion to the sea.
But when Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped. Her father has sold her, promising Jasper Jupiter his very own leopard girl. It is the greatest betrayal of Nell’s life, but as her fame grows, and she finds friendship with the other performers and Jasper’s gentle brother Toby, she begins to wonder if joining the show is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
In London, newspapers describe Nell as the eighth wonder of the world. Figurines are cast in her image, and crowds rush to watch her soar through the air. But who gets to tell Nell’s story? What happens when her fame threatens to eclipse that of the showman who bought her? And as she falls in love with Toby, can he detach himself from his past and the terrible secret that binds him to his brother?
Moving from the pleasure gardens of Victorian London to the battle-scarred plains of the Crimea, Circus of Wonders is an astonishing story about power and ownership, fame and the threat of invisibility.
A huge congratulations on this very special day, Elizabeth. And if readers have not ordered their copy yet, you can purchase one here!