Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman Review

The "spellbinding" (People, 4 stars), New York Times bestseller from the author of The Dovekeepers: an extraordinary novel about an electric and impassioned love affair "an enchanting love story rich with history and a sense of place"; (USA TODAY).

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's museum, alongside performers like the Wolfman and the Butterfly Girl. 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 community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman's disappearance. And he ignites the heart of Coralie.

Alice Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a tender and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is, "a lavish tale about strange yet sympathetic people" (The New York Times Book Review).
4/5 Stars

This book was unlike anything I've ever read before... It was dark and twisted, with a subtle romance and a thick mysterious plot. While it wasn't at all what I expected... It was really good in an eerie feel kind of way.

It follows two characters through past and present. Their connection to one another isn't vivid, but it's there and it's unavoidable. Eddie sees Coralie in his dreams and she sees him in the flesh. Both are drawn to one another long before they meet face to face, but they have obstacles to overcome first. Cora's father is possessive and uses her in sick twisted ways. She is his money maker and each day she is in an exhibit, is another dark day in her life. She seeks solace in the water and makes friends with a tortoise. Her hope is that someday she will be loved as the monster she believes to be. It is Eddie that opens her eyes and heart to everything she didn't know was possible.

"Edward realized it simply was not in her nature to abandon even the lowliest creature. He felt overtaken by his love for her. Love like this wasn't what he'd planned or wanted or expected, surely it was indeed a trap, for even when you tried to run away, it followed you through the grass and lay down beside you, it overtook common sense and will-power. "

The Museum of Extraordinary Things was a well crafted story with exquisite writing. The Author did a great job at creating a solid foundation with strong character development. While at times it was a tad slow, it continued to pull me back in. The words were quick to tug at my heart strings and the emotions really poured off the pages. The life Coralie lived was hell. She was a puppet and her father was the puppeteer. He controlled every movement, action, and thought. When she finally broke free from his gripp... I couldn't have been happier. It was long tough journey, but in the end I was pleased with how everything turned out.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to all readers looking for a unique read. When I saw it had a mermaid theme I was all in. I'm definitely happy that I picked up the book and gave it a chance.

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