the next good book

Church Of Marvels

By Leslie Parry


308 pages

What’s it about? This work of historical fiction takes place in New York in 1895.   Sylvan Threadgill is a night soiler,  a man who cleans privies in the middle of the night.  While working one night he finds an abandoned newborn baby girl.   Sylvan rescues the baby and becomes intent on finding who abandoned her.  Sylvan’s story is interwoven with other stories to bring New York in 1895 to life.   The stories take us to the sideshows of Coney Island, the Bowery, and the Blackwell Lunatic Asylum.  Even over a hundred years ago- New York held lots of surprises. What did I think? I really liked this book, but it was not what I expected.   The underbelly of New York at the turn of the century was a scary place.   The characters in this novel are interesting.   The plot has lots of twists and turns.  It was Ms. Parry’s first novel and sometimes it felt a little fantastic.  It was entertaining though!  Ms. Parry’s writing is uneven, but at times it is really beautiful. Should you read it? If you like historical fiction then I would recommend this book.  It certainly makes you think that the good old days, were not that good for everyone! Quote- “She came to a stop beneath the pier.  The foam wrapped around her ankles and held there, as if afraid of being sucked back into the sea.  She’s hidden here for hours the day of the fire.  At one point someone had called her name but she was too scared to call back.  The tigers were the first living things she saw.  They were galloping down toward the shore, their great legs springing through the san, down toward the shore, their great legs springing through the sand, cloaks of flame rising from their backs.  She waited for them to howl, but they were silent.  She didn’t even hear the sound of waves breaking over their bodies as they thrashed blindly into the sea.”

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