Another great story from Christina.
I certainly feel rewarded for reading The Little Mermaid and The Fabulous Showman before diving straight into this, as they do give one the feeling and attitude of the age and thereby give this story a sense of genuine realism. So i would certainly recommend reading both before hand if you’re looking for a more immersive experience from this story.
Reading a work of fiction that contains real historical characters, in their real historical places and time, while only twisting the factual narrative where needed to make the fictional narrative fit was, at times, quite emotionally disturbing. One can truly feel for Amelia as though she is a genuine historical person, because all the people around her were genuine historical people.
For example, Barnum did put a huge tank into the museum, but he put whales in it. And the way in which he treats the mermaid in this story is not too dissimilar to how he treated the whales. One can almost read this story as the story of those whales, and have Amelia’s voice speak for them. Sadly, the whales never had a voice, nor did they have someone like Levi to champion their corner: all suffered and died serving the ignorance of the masses and Barnum’s bank account. It made me feel genuinely uncomfortable, and moved in ways that an ordinary work of fiction simply doesn’t. It’s quite the experience, and one i certainly recommend.
As with all of Christina’s books, the writing is wonderful, flowing, and, for me, perfectly edited. A wonderful read. It really does capture the feeling and attitude of the age.