A dazzling gothic tale of Faustian bargains, jealousy, and murder set in a spectacular circus, where star-crossed lovers' destinies are forged at an unexpected price: "A wonderfully imagined and fiendishly clever debut" (Colson Whitehead).
In Victorian London, where traveling sideshows are the very pinnacle of entertainment, there is no more coveted ticket than Ashe and Pretorius' Carnivale of Curiosities. Each performance is a limited engagement, and London's elite boldly dare the dangerous streets of Southwark to witness the Carnivale's astounding assemblage of marvels. For a select few, however, the real show begins behind the curtain. Rumors abound that the show’s proprietor, Aurelius Ashe, is more than an average magician. It's said that for the right price, he can make any wish come true. No one knows the truth of this claim better than Lucien the Lucifer, the Carnivale's star attraction. Born with the ability to create fire, he's dazzled spectators since he was a boy.
When Odilon Rose, one of the most notorious men in London, comes calling with a proposition regarding his young and beautiful charge, Charlotte, Ashe is tempted to refuse. After revealing, however, that Rose holds a secret that threatens the security of the troupe's most vulnerable members, Ashe has no choice but to sign an insidious contract.
The stakes grow higher as Lucien finds himself drawn to Charlotte and her to him, an attraction that spurs a perilous course of events. Grave secrets, recovered horrors, and what it means to be family come to a head in this vividly imagined spectacle—with the lives of all those involved suspended in the balance.
About the Author
Amiee Gibbs grew up in rural Maryland, where she still lives on an allegedly haunted road, but has dreams of running away to Ireland. She has worked for Penguin Random House for 13 years as a Sales Manager for Independent bookstores across New England, New York, and the West Coast. Prior to that she was an Assistant Sales Manager at Waldenbooks and Borders. She holds an MLA degree with a focus on world literature and creative writing and is currently teaching herself Gaeilge.
"A wonderfully imagined and fiendishly clever debut."—Colson Whitehead, author of Harlem Shuffle
“A mesmerizing, gothic tale of magic and danger, The Carnivale of Curiosities is an enthralling feat of imagination.”—Jenny Jackson, author of Pineapple Street
"First-time novelist Gibbs crafts a strong sense of time and place through descriptions of the physical world as well as the societal expectations for the rich and poor in Victorian England; she also deftly weaves threads of darkness into all the characters while portraying the Carnivale as a close-knit, found-family unit. Tension builds as the fragility of life is repeatedly tested, and dangerous lies unravel the ties binding lives together. Unique and emotionally engaging, Gibbs' tale may appeal to fans of Mexican Gothic (2020) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia as well as readers enthralled by Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe."—Booklist, Starred Review
“The Carnivale of Curiosities is a glowing ember of a novel. Amiee Gibbs has expertly crafted a universe that simmers with infinite possibilities and burns with life-altering danger. Her characters—a circus troupe in Victorian London—will stay with you long after reading.”
—Clemence Michallon, author of The Quiet Tenant
"Beautifully presented, with vivid descriptions of the most minute aspects of setting . . . intriguing and smartly woven together . . . This novel will appeal to those who deeply loved V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue or Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus."—Library Journal
"[A] glamorous debut . . . Through lyrical prose, Gibbs builds an atmospheric historical world with danger and magic around every corner . . . This vibrant and unusual circus is well worth a visit."—Publishers Weekly
"Debut author Gibbs dazzles with lush, evocative prose, delightfully diabolical plotting, and abundant heart . . . the dynamics of the found family formed by the “curiosities” add more than enough nuance and emotional complexity . . . Subtle worldbuilding elevates the tale’s intrigue without distracting from the action. Darkly enchanting and grimly gratifying."—Kirkus