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THE TRANSFORMATION OF BARTHOLOMEW FORTUNO By: Ellen Bryson July 9, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     This is a selection the Lycan Librarian had heard about and put on hold some time ago, and when it showed up on the Moonlit Library’s hold shelf, she had no recollection of having done so. Let this be a lesson to us all to reserve books immediately, for it would have been most unfortunate if this novel had slipped away unread.

     Bartholomew Fortuno, who considers his physique as a wonderful gift, is billed as THE THINNEST MAN IN THE WORLD (6′, 67 pounds), and is one of the Curiosities in P. T. Barnum’s American Museum. The book opens during President Lincoln’s funeral, and the array of historical facts about the funeral and other events of the period spill the story of the Curiosities’ lives out into mid-nineteenth-century Manhattan in a delightful manner.

     One day Barnum quietly brings in a new act under the cover of night and forbids the other Curiosities from viewing the show of Mrs. Iell Adams, a gorgeous red-headed bearded widow.  Some of the other acts are outraged when this woman receives special treatment and considerations denied the rest of them, but not as angry as Mrs. Barnum is at the clandestine relationship the widow appears to be sharing with her husband. Bartholomew falls in love with Iell and discovers she harbors some rather lofty secrets. The Lycan Librarian read a few online reviews of this book, and some readers complained there was not enough drama and intrigue attached to this secret in the plot. Nonsense! This book is not a mystery. It is a wonderful piece of historical fiction and this reader was quite satisfied with the amount of  suspense supplied by the author. The characters are fresh and interesting, and the story is a perfect blend of fact and fiction, making this novel a fine addition to both your and the Moonlit Library’s collections.

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