Kitty Hayward and her mother are ready to experience the spectacles of Coney Island’s newest attraction, the Dreamland amusement park. But when Kitty’s mother vanishes from their hotel, she finds herself penniless, alone, and far from her native England. The last people she expects to help are the cast of characters at Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet, a museum of oddities. From con men to strongmen, from flea wranglers to lion tamers, Kitty’s new friends quickly adopt her and vow to help find the missing Mrs. Hayward. But even these unusual inhabitants may not be a match for the insidious sickness that begins to spread through Coney Island…or the panic that turns Dreamland into a nightmare.
Length: 368 Pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: June 7, 2016.
About the Author:
H.P. Wood is the granddaughter of a mad inventor and a sideshow magician. Instead of making things disappear, she makes books of all shapes and sizes. She has written or edited works on an array topics, including the history of the Internet, the future of human rights, and the total awesomeness of playing with sticks. She lives in Connecticut with a charming and patient husband, a daughter from whom she steals all her best ideas, and more cats than is strictly logical. You can find her at hpwood.net.
The cover is absolutely stunning for this novel. As soon as I saw it, I didn’t care what the book was about. I had to read it. But also, because of the cover, I had expectations that Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet would be a bit more fantastical than it was. The fact that it wasn’t certainly isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed it very much, and was pleasantly surprised at the direction the story took. I just wasn’t expecting it.
After reading H.P. Wood’s bio, it is easy to see how she was drawn to the characters she opens the story with. These characters, of course meaning, the “unusuals”. Those who were different, didn’t fit it, and were cast aside. Sometimes they were born with these unusual attributes, and sometimes it came later. But the outcome was the same. They were all termed “freak.”
But the story isn’t one where you spend the whole book feeling sorry for the characters. I loved the diversity of it all. I loved the sense of humor that came with it. And I even loved when these ‘unusuals’ went through tribulations and needed to rely on each other’s unique strengths and gifts. I loved that the ‘normal’ ones, were the ones that didn’t quite fit in. And yet they all had something to offer.
The only thing I struggled with was the pacing at the end of the book. It was nice and steady and then all of the sudden chaos erupts and so much is happening, so fast, and it left me with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.
Even so, all in all, I really enjoyed Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet and am giving it 4 out of 5 Stars.
Content (0 being none and 5 being A LOT):
There isn’t a ton of language, very far and few between actually. But I rated it higher because there are a few uses of the f-word.
A few fights that aren’t very graphic. One graphic funeral scene at the end caused the rating to go up a notch.
A few innuendos, but no sexual situations
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is available both digitally and in paperback. This is definitely one you will want to pick up. Click on the image below for more information.