Archive for July, 2011

To say THE NIGHT CIRCUS is atmospheric is an understatement, almost an insult to the strength of Erin Morgenstern’s prose.

From page one, the reader is immediately immersed in the sights and sounds and smells of Le Cirque des Reves, a magical world spun with from starlight and shadow. As we get to know the protagonists, Celia and Marco, we see the sweep of an elegant hem on the painted floor, we smell the smoky sweet scent of caramel, we hear the tick-tock of enchanted clockwork. Beyond the circus gates, the innumerable tents hold singular wonders–bottles filled with memory, ice gardens heavy with frozen blooms, deep rooted trees that burn with wishes and dreams.

The circus is filled to bursting with story.

And it’s all part of the game. A game in which two magicians pit their chosen proteges against one another. Cirque des Reves becomes the chessboard, the battleground from which Celia and Marco cannot escape. And they are not alone. The competitive work, their combined illusions form a fragile web in which many performers, friends and guests are precariously suspended.

The game does not end, the circus must remain until a victor emerges and a loser falls. But what happens when opponents become lovers? What happens when each side cannot bear to win?

THE NIGHT CIRCUS has the answer, and surely much more. The narrative twists back and again through time and many perspectives. One cannot help but search each new page for clues, for answers, for puzzle pieces to place on the table’s larger picture. The reader’s journey is part of the story–the tale feels complete only when the last revelations click into place. For me, that final clarity was satisfying beyond the last scene.

In the end, I flipped to the last page, desperate for a trapdoor into the novel’s world. Call me a red-scarved reveur, but I was not ready to leave the circus.

And I’m certain I’m not be alone in this. THE NIGHT CIRCUS beckons, secure your own admission. This debut will pull you into it’s sparkling, magical game.

Hungry for more? Try this recipe for *glorious* homemade caramel sauce. Maybe it will tide you over until the next time Le Cirque comes to town.

Dear Rosemary Clement-Moore,

I know you wrote TEXAS GOTHIC for yourself and not for me especially (Althoughitsurefeltlikeyoudid, didyourealizethat?), but I thought you should know some of the reasons I think it’s the BEST BOOK YOU’VE EVER WRITTEN:

a.) The gorgeous word choices that stop me in my tracks, the ones that make me remember how much I appreciate stellar writing. (Anyone who can use the word ‘cabal’ as effectively as you do, deserves some kind of Hermione-Granger-Smart-Girl-Snark Lifetime Achievement Award)

b.) The fabulous, dead on analogies that make me nod my head and help me understand and relate to the character’s precise emotion: “…cognitive dissonance up to eleven.”

c.) The delicious, complicated, sweet Tracy and Hepburn/John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara flavored relationship built between Ben and Amy. TEXAS GOTHIC is the kind of romance freshly painted in a gothic palette with touches of DuMaurier’s REBECCA and classics such as TURN OF THE SCREW.

d.) The terrific characterizations, including loyal, half nerd, half not-so-crazy loon Phin and every-ranching-patriarch-I-ever-known-in real-life Grandad Mac. (I grew up in a ranching town, and I know you did, too. You’ve really captured the small touches of ranch life.)

e.) The Goodnight family’s tea shop products which I picture marketed in Philosophie meets Practical Magic packaging.

f.) Finally, I love that I can successfully turn off my editorial mind and just bask in appreciation of a truly good book.

This one’s definitely a keeper.

Your Constant Reader,

Jenny (Who Would, Thank You Very Much, Like a Sequel Soon.)

Here’s the back cover description of the book from the back cover:

Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn’t as simple as it seems–she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts. But she also understands that “normal” doesn’t mix with magic, and she’s worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect her family, who are all practicing witches, but to protect any hope of ever having a normal life.

Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin, aren’t alone. There’s someone in the house with them–and it’s not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door.

 It’s a ghost, and its more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back. This is the summer when the wall between Amy’s worlds is going to come crashing down.

Y’all, I LOVED Texas Gothic. Go out and buy it so we can talk about it over white mocha lattes and these Ranch Cookies!