Title: The Circus Rose
Author: Betsy Cornwall
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling
Publisher: Clarion Books
Page Count: 300
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.
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.
Magical, lyrical, told in two parts, one part being poetry and the other part being story this was beautiful, sad, enchanting and wonderful. Betsy Cornwall has won me over with her beautiful prose and elegant writing. Such strong characters though I admit to Ivory being my favorite compared to that of Rose. A retelling of Snow White, Rose Red this is one of my new favorites.
I’m always a fan of circus stories. I’m sad that they are mostly gone now. The circus to me was always magical and exciting. I even tried joining one once but was unsuccessful. This book I put off reading for at least two, three years now, I devoured in a single sitting. It was half told in verse, split between two characters, Ivory (who was my favorite) and Rose. While I’m not a big fan of novels in verse, I still felt that this was handled well for a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. While short, this definitely didn’t hold back it’s punches, in proudly displaying Rose and Ivory and their mother, all together struggling to get by daily. The characters felt so real it was as if I was there amongst them, enjoying the show.
This was one of the first YA books I’ve read in a while, and I’m so glad it was a high rating for me. I’m also glad that I own a physical copy. I hope to get through more of the authors backlist titles at some point though no clue when that will be. This book is recommended for those that want representation for bisexual characters, nonbinary characters, sapphic love interests and a satisfying ending.
Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book