Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ARC review: The Museum of Extrodinary Things by Alice Hoffman

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):
Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman's The 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's "museum," 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's Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor's 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's 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
**Many thanks to Net Galley and Scribner publishing for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This novel is slated for publication on February 18, 2014**
This insomniac's opinion:
I am a huge Alice Hoffman fan. The way that she merges magic into reality seamlessly, creating a world that the reader never wants to leave is, well-magic! So, I was thrilled to receive the ARC for this novel.
I loved the beginning of the novel and quickly fell in love with Coralie's character. Eddie character was not quite as enchanting, but was interesting.I am rather fascinated with the museums of oddities that sprang up around the country early, in the 20th century, so the characters that made up that museum were quite interesting, as well.
Unfortunately, the second half of the novel and the subsequent ending fell flat for me. I voraciously read the first half, but was just plodding along through the second half as I had lost interest. Even so, it is an interesting peek into that time and the unusual characters. So, while not my favorite Hoffman novel, still worth reading.
Worth staying up all night to read?
3 stars

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