BookTrail Travels to The Circus Train locations
The World of Wonders travels the world
A travelling circus on a train? That is one literary journey I was more than keen to go on. Lucky enough to get on the train early on, practically before it had even pulled out of proof station, I was all aboard and I could feel the anticipation in my increasingly loud beating heart.
Some books have that effect on me. Ones where I am dying to go on their journey,even before I know much about the plot. It was just the title in this case. A circus on a train? I don’t even like circuses in real life, never have, but this felt special. And it was.
Of course, I was keen to find out what the story behind the story was. Amita says she was fascinated by circuses and the inspritaion for this one was Cirque du Soleil and Les 7 Doigts amongst others. With the war time story, she came across a German circus owner by the name of Adolf Althoff. This is where fact meets ficition for this Adolf did the right thing and protected a Jewish family – one that was in his circus. The author points out that this novel is not a retelling, but it was humbling to find out that part of the story behind the story had a nod to a past hero.
All the time I spend on the train, I had my eyes open in wonder. The descriptions of the panelled rooms, the practice rooms, the tents they put up when they stop – the wonders on that train rattling through the European countryside…
And the scenes! Oh too many to mention but the “La Bayadère” scene with the ballet dancing was great. Turns out it was inspired by the author’s days doing ballet.
There’s even more author trivia , this time about the main character – Lena Papadopoulos. She’s really called ‘Helena’ but everyone calls her ‘Lena’ for short. The author picked the name by mixing two fictional character’s names – ‘Lena’ played by Alexis Bledel in one of Amita’s favourite films and ‘Helena’ from ‘All’s Well That Ends Well.’
Despite the wonders of the world in this novel, there are some really heartbreaking moments but that is all part of the journey this book takes you on. We end up in Theresienstadt – a concentration camp. It’s billed as a village built for Jews, a spa town if you will, but the reality is far different. These scenes were hard to read but essential to the plot.
The story of The Circus Train takes place after the Golden Age of Magic in America but the author takes you on a journey that is so much magical in every way. You get to spend time in the classic magic shops of their day and even visit the Hippodrome where Houdini actually performed. Sadly, it’s now an office block in real life but here, you can not only see but believe in the magic.
What a journey this book took me on. Go and read this – honestly, there are so many layers to it and a real journey in every sense of the word.