by Alice Hoffman
Scribner (Simon and Schuster)
Buy from Indigo
Published: February 18, 2014
Description: Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice HoffmanThe Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.
Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father; alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.
The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.
With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding
The Good Stuff
- Hoffman is truly a poetic and "extraordinary" writer. She is an exceptional storyteller who creates worlds full of ordinary, yet magical characters who stay with you long after you close the book
- An interesting history lesson woven through the story, yet it never feels like a lesson
- Loved how Hoffman created characters that others would consider as one dimensional circus freaks, and made them the flesh and blood people that they are
- My favorites scenes were the ones between Eddie and Beck
- Each and every character feels real - even the dad who thoroughly disgusted me
- Exceptional historical research obviously was put into this, Hoffman makes the period come alive and makes you want to learn more - but again it never feels like a history lesson, she just makes history come alive
- Made me think of Jane Eyre in an entirely new way
- First chapter hooked me in right away
- A tad repetitive about key plot points
- The scene involving the fire and the animals at Dreamland was very disturbing for this sensitive reader (not a bad thing, just a heads up for other animal lovers like myself). Not to mention the other fire (I know I mentioned the one with the animals before the one with humans - I feel slightly bad too)
- Insta Love (again not a really bad thing, just a tad irritating) - I still totally cheered for them to have a happy ending
"In such great works I found enlightenment and came to understand that everything God creates is a miracle, individually and unto itself."
"But the newspapers want violence, retribution, crime, sin. In short, it's hell they're asking for."
"If we had no hurt and no sin to speak of, we'd be angels, and angels can't love the way men and women do."
I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review