Ferret Skerritt – ventriloquist by trade, conman by birth – isn’t expecting to find love at the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair, a colourful world of flimflam men, snake-oil salesmen, occultists, and scandalous burlesques. But when he crosses paths with the beautiful and enigmatic Cecily, his whole purpose shifts.
Cecily works in the Midway’s Chamber of Horrors where she loses her head hourly on a guillotine playing Marie Antoinette; after closing, she rushes off, clinging protectively to a mysterious carpet bag, never giving Ferret a second glance. Until a moonlit ride on the swan gondola changes everything – and the fair’s magic begins to take its effect.
Timothy Schaffert is the author of four novels, including the critically acclaimed Devils in the Sugar Shop and The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God. He has won the Henfield Award and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, and has been shortlisted for the O. Henry Prize. He is a contributing editor for Fairy Tale Review, and the web editor of Prairie Schooner. He teaches in the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
'Each of [Schaffert’s] books is a quirky little gem.'
– New York Times
'A highly atmospheric entertainment, full of plot twists, historical flavor and paranormal romance.'
– Washington Post
'Enchanting... It's easy to imagine this charming novel attaining Water for Elephants-like popularity with readers.'
– Publishers Weekly
'A fresh, gorgeous, witty page-turner full of twists and surprises and all the romance in the world. I couldn’t put it down.'
– Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins
'A highly imaginative, vividly told tale of whimsy, hucksters, soothsayers, ghosts and, most of all, star-crossed lovers.'
– Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls
'It’s time for him to become a household name... With allusions to the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz, Schaffert has magically transformed a stretch of field near Omaha into a white, shimmering vision… fans of historical fiction will not be disappointed.'
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