THE UNRIVALLED SPANGLES by Karen Wallace

THE UNRIVALLED SPANGLES

Age Range: 11 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Though kids no longer dream of running away to the circus, teen girls may be lured to a vicarious escape via this 19th-century tale set in London’s East End. Ellen, 16, and Lucy Spangle, 14, have been raised as star horseback riders headlining the family circus. When Lucy falls during a dangerous stunt, she fatally breaks her neck. The tragedy is only the beginning of a roller coaster of calamities. Ellen’s yearning to leave the circus to become a governess drives the plot as two romances—a dreamy gentleman who charms her with visions of visiting Venice and handsome, honest Joe, son of the rival circus owner—entangle her feelings and complicate the family’s struggles. Add to the mix a devastating fire that almost kills her father, Ellen’s skill at healing and British upper-class snobbery. Readers will be way ahead of the author, and, like watching a melodrama, want to call out advice to the characters. Stiff-collar tone, some overly dramatic moments and plot fripperies keep the action tumbling but nick a few “spangles” off the appeal. (Historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-1503-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2006




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