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    quirky, peculiar and fun

    The Electrical Venus is an unusual, mystical tale told by the performers of a travelling circus in 18th century England, run by husband and wife team, The Graingers. Amongst the many performers, we meet exotic Mim with her skin the colour of coffee and her beautiful face. She is well educated, courtesy of one of the performers who has now left. She has big ambitions in life, plus she also has a pet parrot called George too. There is also Alex, a boxer with one arm. He likes Mim. He wants to get out of his normal routine and try a new one that features him and Mim together. One day The Graingers are visited by a Dr. Fox who wants to buy Mim for his own show, one that is all about ‘Electrickery’. He wants her to be the star – His Electrical Venus. As I stated this is an unusual tale and one I wasn’t sure how I would get on with it. The book cover is so beautiful and the synopsis so inviting that I couldn’t resist. I must admit that the story was just a delight to read. The characters were all wonderful and so diverse. It really didn’t feel like I was reading a historical novel. The plot moved at a steady pace. Normally I’d be the first to complain that there were no faster parts, but this book didn’t need them. If you are looking for something different then this book is a great choice. It has lots of laugh-out-loud moments, mainly from the outbursts of Mim’s Parrot, and he had plenty of them. There is also a romantic side to the book. It is quirky, peculiar and was just a fun, engaging book that I truly enjoyed from the first page to the last.
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    Mimosa Pudica

    This is a charmingly quirky tale of travelling sideshow people and their efforts to entertain the general populace and, most importantly, get coin. With illustrations of handbills that promise the most exotic of treats we get to meet the main players in the novel: The One Arm'd Boy - Alex suffered a near fatal accident in early childhood and now has only one arm. Raised by the Graingers he has been taught to juggle and perform acrobatic feats for the pleasure of the public. The Dwaff - Abel is short of stature and light of finger regularly boosting the sideshows earning by picking pockets and rigging games. The No-Legg'd Brute - Joe has no legs, whether by accident or accident of birth we know not. Despite his appearence and his gruff voice he is a kind and gentle man who performs feats of strength for his slop. George - An Amazonian Green Parrot whose mimicry knows no bounds and who frequently fails to perform when called upon. The Girl-Exotic - Sweet Mim, sold to the Grainger's as a baby when her mother couldn't hide her dalliance with, what we assume, was a servant. Coffee coloured skin and a smattering of learning she is the lowest rung on the sideshow ladder. Even the mathematical pig and the dancing geese get better slop than her. When the show meets up with Dr Sebastian Fox things look to be taking a turn for the better as he introduces them to the delights of Electrickery and their coffers suddenly swell. You do get drawn in to this peculiar world and the smattering of language from the 18th Century just makes it seem all the more immersive. We follow the fortunes of Mim and Alex as they try to cope with the change in fortunes brought about by the Electrickery and as they each rise and fall in favour time and again. Theirs is a warm friendship that struggles to cope with their adulthood and relative importance to the Graingers and Dr Fox. Perhaps the best character though is George. He injects the humour in to the book and smoothly interrupts the most sincere soul searching with his outbursts. Albeit in language not suitable for a lady. This book was so much better than I thought it was going to be with rich characters and a real sense of time and place. There is love, there is peril, there is wealth and there is pecuniary. Most of all there is humanity.

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