-Reviewed by Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer
Bartholomew Fortuno is a Curiosity residing and performing in Barnum’s American Museum located in Manhattan. He is the World’s Thinnest Man and believes his thinness is a unique gift. The War of Rebellion (commonly known as the Civil War or War between the North and South) has just ended and thing are slowly beginning to get back to normal. Matia is the fat lady and Barthy’s (as she calls him) friend and frequent companion. She resembles a great big porcelain doll. Some of the other Curiosities living at the museum are Richo the Rubber Man, Ally the Giant Boy and Emma the World’s Tallest Woman. After decades of performing, Barthy is losing his contentment.
Barthy liked to sit on the window sill in his room and watch the people and sites of Manhattan. One night some thing happens that turns his world upside down. A veiled lady alights from a carriage and enters the museum. Who is she and why is she here? Rumors are flying – is she a new performer or what? The troops later learn she is Iell Adams, a beautiful red haired lady with a gorgeous silky red beard. She will be performing daily in one of the special rooms in the museum.
Barthy is obsessed with Iell. Something is happening to him. He has eaten only string beans for decades, but now craves food. He is remembering parts of his childhood, especially his mother. Is his thinness really a unique gift or is there something his memory has been blocking out? Barthy find himself in love with Iell and his life in complete shambles.
One must read the book to learn how Barthy handles his love for Iell. What happens to the other Curiosities, and the museum. I found the book a very interesting read. Recommend for those of you who like a little magic, some make believe, some mystery and a curiosity for the odd and unique. You will be transported back to a time when uniqueness was entertainment and people flocked to see the oddballs.
Side Note: P.T. Barnum owned and operated the Manhattan Museum long before he founded his famous circus of today.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.