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Summary

THE Sunday Times Best Seller

This audiobook is read by Tuppence Middleton (Mank and Downton Abbey). 

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.

©2021 Elizabeth Macneal (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

Critic reviews

"Beautifully written." (The Times)

"An absolute triumph." (Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars)

"A glittering follow-up to The Doll Factory." (Guardian)

What listeners say about Circus of Wonders

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A wonderful tale

This was a five star review for me and my long review is posted on Amazon U.K.

With respect to the audiobook, I have enjoyed Tuppence Middleton’s narration on a number of previous audiobooks, including Elizabeth Macneal’s debut, ‘The Doll Factory’. She is an experienced British actor with stage, film and television credits and she voices the range of characters in this novel with ease. I found her voice exquisite with a silky texture that is very pleasurable to listen to.

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  • 01-06-21

Enjoyed The Doll Factory this falls flat

Clumsy, plodding and repetitive narrative. I really wanted to like this new offering from Elizabeth Macneal but it was awful, the characters were one dimensional, drowning in self pity and loathing, really hard to keep listening as the narration made it worse.