Cynthia Martin, Head Librarian, Champlain Library

The Circus Train, by Amita Parikh

You had me at Circus. This is the debut novel of Canadian author Amita Parikh.

I am a big fan of the historical fiction genre and The Circus Train does not disappoint. It is a gorgeous novel, with a beautiful backdrop of a travelling circus train. Set during World War II, the book follows Lena Papadopoulos, Theo Alexandre, and Clara – all characters from the renowned World of Wonders.

The main character Lena is a lonely girl, who as a child contracted polio. Shunned by the other children because of her wheelchair, she escapes by reading books. That is, until she finds a friend in Alexandre, a Jewish orphan on the run.

Lena’s father, master illusionist Theo, takes Alexandre under his wing as an apprentice and the two develop a fantastical act, until they are captured by the Nazis.

This book spans decades that takes you through Lena’s journey of isolation, education, loss and perseverance. She is a strong female character and one you won’t soon forget.

If you enjoyed Water for Elephants and The Night Circus I think you will enjoy this novel. There was magic, mystery, grit, grief and a beautiful love story. Oh, and plot twists upon plot twists!

Book Review written by Cynthia Martin, Head Librarian, Champlain Library – About Me: My favorite day of the week is Thursday, when the new books arrive! We get new ones every week and I get to unpack and see them all. It’s like Christmas morning!

Did you know?

The Champlain Library has more than 4,500 digital magazines on the Libby app. English and French titles are available to borrow including popular reads such as National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Marie France and Vogue. You can search for magazines and filter by your preferred language.

The Champlain Library is located at 94 Main Street East, Vankleek Hill, ON. K0B 1R0 613-678-2216,