Gallery Books: 7/7/15
eBook review copy, 368 pages
The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall is a highly recommended novel set in the roaring twenties about three people and a dog trying to escape their past while making their way in the present.
The three, along with a little stray dog Cora names Mercury and teaches to do tricks, team up and form Mercury's Daredevils. While Gil does death defying stunts in the biplane, Cora and Mercury perform stunts on the motorcycle. Henry acts as the mechanic, the announcer, and the money collector. While their choice to team up together is working, it is constantly threatened by their conflicting goals and closely kept secrets. All three are trying to escape from something and none of them have told the others their full story. It doesn't help their alliance when Henry, who is attracted to Cora, sees Cora flirting with Gil.
The writing is excellent and the subject matter unique. Crandall keeps you reading by hinting at and not revealing the secrets each character is trying to hide until very near the end. I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying, although I felt better about it once I read the epilogue. Cora's blind enthusiasm for new stunts (and getting her way) in stark contrast to Gil's morose, moody drinking may jangle a few nerves, but all in all this is a very engaging story with memorable characters and a compelling plot. It was really a perfect summer novel for sheer escapism.