Review: The Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwell


Expected publication: June 16th 2020

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

I read Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell years ago when it was first released and I loved it so much. I hadn’t gotten around to picking up her other releases but when I seen the synopsis for The Circus Rose, I knew I had to read it and I was so excited.
I loved the writing style so much. It was beautiful and the alternating styles of the chapters, one character’s perspective is written in poetry, was really interesting. I didn’t love the poetry chapters but they were very unique.
The one thing that I feel really holds this book back is how aimlessly the plot wanders and nothing really happens throughout the book. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the actual plot is because there isn’t one. The writing style and the fun atmosphere of the setting gives this book life but the complete lack of plot drags it down.




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