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, in their real historical 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 really did put a huge tank into his 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 with Amelia’s voice speaking for them. Sadly, the whales never had a voice, nor did they have someone like Levi to champion their corner; each successive pair of whales suffered awfully and died, entertaining the ignorance of the masses while nicely filling Barnum’s bank account. It made me feel genuinely uncomfortable and moved in ways that an ordinary work of fiction simply cannot. So, yes, do read the above mentioned two books before this, it really is 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.