Friday, January 15, 2016
"Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet" by HP Wood
The year is 1904 and it's the start of the busy tourist season on Coney Island. Kitty Hayward arrives on the island, with her mother, by steamship from South Africa. Her mother takes ill at the hotel they are staying in and Kitty goes into the city to get medicine for her. When she returns her mother is know where to be found and the staff act as if both she and her mother have never checked in. Kitty, penniless and alone in a new country and strange city, befriends a group of "unnusuals" (side show performers) at Megruder's Curiosity Cabinet. It is a strange type of museum full of oddities from around the world. The people who frequent Megruder's are also an odd bunch themselves.
There is Zeph, the half man with no legs, who oversees all happenings at Megruder's. Ro, the half man-half woman who lives in a room upstairs and Dr. Timur, the mad scientist who spends his time in the attic with crazy experiments. Spencer, Nazan, and Archie are the regular "dozens" (as in a dime a dozen- "normal people") who choose to be friends with the side show performers. As the plague sweeps through the area this unlikely group must band together to help find Kitty's mother and also stay safe from contracting the plague.
This book... I loved it so much! Turn of the century combined with circus-like, sideshow characters are what lead me to request this from Netgalley and I thank Sourcebooks Landmark for approving me to read it!
Author H.P. Wood does a marvelous job writing the characters and settings in (from what I can tell) her debut novel. Margruder's Curiosity Cabinet is full of characters I loved, characters I hated, and characters I just can't get out of my head. The entire plot is so well described and thought out. Full scene and character development really makes this book phenomenal. Add in a mystery and a bit of historical relevance and was hooked! I found myself wishing for free time to get back to reading. The entire book was mysterious and suspenseful right up until the last page.
I highly suggest adding this book to your TBR list. It is due to be released June 1, 2016. It was so much fun to read!