Hector Bowen was unaware that he had a daughter, but when Celia arrives in his office at the age of 6 with her mother’s suicide note pinned to her coat, he knows immediately that she is his child. Celia has an inherent talent, one that with training could match his own. This is his opportunity to beat the man in the grey suit: they will each choose their players and when the time is right, the competition will begin.
Meanwhile Chandresh Lefevre has a dream: to open up a circus with a multitude of different tents, each housing a different form of entertainment. Alongside associates from his Midnight Dinners and with more than a little help from his assistant Marco Alisdair, Chandresh is able to make his dream a reality. But his new Night Circus is not completely as it seems and for some, it will become an obsession.
That was a difficult couple of paragraphs to write. This is a book which is not easy to describe, with a plot which could be easily spoilt. The name of the prologue is ‘Anticipation,’ which describes it perfectly. Not just for the people standing in the queue as night falls, waiting for this mysterious circus to open, but for us readers, uncertain of what we will find inside the pages of the book. The prologue did everything it should have done: it piqued my interest, drew me in and I was hooked until the last line.
The language is gorgeous, the descriptions of the circus and the tents so vivid, you feel you are wrapped up in the world. I think the word ‘sumptuous’ describes it quite well. It draws on all the senses: a world of caramel popcorn, bonfire smoke, velvet and satin. I can’t remember the last book I read that was so beautifully written without the descriptions seeming over the top. It really does feel magical.
The plot is unpredictable. I had no idea how the story was going to end. For it to work, you have to lose yourself in the world of magic and enchantment: reality and logic have no place here. I love fantasy, so for me this wasn’t a problem. It is the kind of book that has many layers. When I finished, the first thing I wanted to do was go back to the start and find all the little bits of information I might have missed the first time round. I guess you could say I am one of the reveurs.