The Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwell
English | 2020 | Children/Young Adult | ePUB | 7.0 MB
From a New York Times bestselling author, a queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family. YA fantasy perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Mackenzi Lee, and Laini Taylor.
Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.
In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love-with the help of a dancing bear-to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.
My time at the Lampton Girls’ School of Engineering was the happiest I’d ever spent, and the hardest. I’d felt such guilt, leaving for that year. I ended every letter I sent Rosie with an apology. When we were small, I used to tell her, lying quietly in the dark, that I’d never leave her as long as I lived. And while she’d released me from that promise long ago, while she’d encouraged me to go, I still knew I had broken my vow.
It hurt me almost past bearing.
Guilt over leaving Mama and Rosie clung to me every day, and it came back twice as strong if I forgot them in an hour of rapt studying or an evening of raucous dormitory laughter. I knew tuition was expensive, and I wasn’t a scholarship girl; Mama had told me only that she’d handle it, but I couldn’t imagine the sacrifices she must have been making to send me to school.
I wrote long letters to Mama and Rosie every week—and though it made me feel a little silly, I always wrote a line to Bear as well, making sure to tell him what I was up to. And I sent my greetings to the rest of the troupe, of course. I was sure Mama read my letters to the group, and even though that made me feel strange, I couldn’t quite tell her not to.
Rosie, though, I trusted to keep our letters to herself. So it was in these that I wrote to Bear and that I shared anything that wasn’t wonderfully positive; I didn’t want Mama to think I was having any trouble at all.
I wasn’t having trouble, after all, not really. In some ways, the school wasn’t so different from the circus; everyone bonded quickly, though we were all different ages and from far-flung places. I had found friends easily, girls named Dimity, Rachida, Constance, Felicity, Faith—names I stored carefully on the tidy shelves of my heart. The school was just small enough that we could feel like a group, like a tribe; smaller than the circus, and quieter and more orderly, more studious. There were girls as young as twelve, but many were older than I, and plenty of grown-up women came to Lampton’s as day students to take classes in building or repairing the machines that made their lives run more smoothly. In many ways school suited me better. But the little troubles, the experiments or the quizzes I failed, the arguments that all teenagers get into now and then and that sometimes hurt more than I wanted to admit . . . those I told to Rosie, not to Mama.