Sunday, 24 June 2018

Amy Ephron - Carnival Magic - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)

Tess and Max are back in England for another summer with their Aunt Evie - this time by the seashore in South Devon. And they're incredibly excited about the travelling carnival that's come to town. There are rides, games, acrobats, The House of Mirrors - and even a psychic, with a beautiful wagon all her own. In a visit to the psychic's wagon, while Tess is being hypnotized, the wagon seems to move. Before Tess can shake herself out of the hypnosis, before Max can do anything, they seem to be travelling - along with the rest of the carnival - too quickly for the two of them to jump out. But where are they going and what awaits them? Will they be caught in a world different from their own? And do the Baranova twins, acrobats who miss their sister almost as much as Tess and Max miss their family, hold the keys to the mystery?

Carnival Magic is coming to a town near you. Although, it has already been published by Philomel Books (13th June 2018) in the US. You could easily be sucked into this story just by the book cover, as it is particularly captivating and inviting. This book is the follow up to The Castle in the Mist which was published in February 2017. However, you don't really need to have read it first as this book reads fantastically well on its own. Both books have similar themes, so if you like one of them then you will easily love them both. 

I really loved the black and white map illustration of the fairground which leads you into this amazing story. You will find yourself hurtling into an adventure that pulls on the magical heartstrings of being a child by providing a world of pure escapism. It is a captivating story that introduces the idyllic charm of England, particularly country life. The genteel and relaxed narrative washes over the reader like a babbling brook bubbling with fantastic, vivid imagination.  

The book is set in Devon and will hypnotically transport the reader into a magical adventure regardless of age or gender. The adventurous taste buds will fire on all cylinders as you follow Tess and Max into a wonderful timeless story. The story starts off with a visit to the zoo where Tess gravitates towards a baby tiger writhing on the straw. However, something strange soon happens which sets the reader off on a magical mystery filled full of suspense and wonder. 

The travelling carnival then comes to town and provides a brilliant backdrop for the author, with her calculating eye, to weave a tapestry of bright detail and description. At this point, just like Tess and Max, you are whisked into a family adventure full of love, friendship, and high-flying escapades. I really loved the plot as it is not over-worked or over-explained. It is perhaps a little naive at times, but it leaves the reader fantasizing and believing in dreams. 

It's a great adventure which is both eery and slightly surreal, but it will have the reader hooked until the very last page. It's a brilliant read for a summer's day as it encompasses you with warmth, magic, and love. 

Thank you very much, Amy and Lindsay, for getting this book to me from across the pond. 


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