Genre: Young Adult / Historical Fiction / Sweet Romance
Publisher: Melange Books
Date of Publication: September 2, 2017
Number of Pages: 224
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Desperate to escape her squalid life on the streets of New York City, sixteen-year-old Fiona Finn seeks help at the magnificent Church of the Ascension where Charles Loring Brace, a social reformer horrified by the plight of New York City’s street children, arranges for her to go west aboard an Orphan Train.
Fiona’s homeless, alcoholic father has other plans, however. He wants Fiona to “work” the streets to support his drinking and pursues her across the midwest until she is forced to abandon the train in Houston to avoid a sheriff bent on returning her to her father.
Alone in the dark on the Texas prairie, Fiona’s terrifying experience with a circus elephant, Bolivar, sets the stage for a future she could never have imagined.
PRAISE FOR ELEPHANT DREAMS:
Elephant Dreams will be featured in the January, 2018 issue of the Historical Novel Society magazine.
“What a story! With scenes to be likened to any Charles Dickens novel, the author, Martha Deeringer, carries the reader on a breathtaking journey through despair and hope that changes as often as the wind changes direction. Great characters, a believable story, an insight into another world, and an empathy for a character that a reader would have to have a heart of stone not to sympathise with. Although billed as a young adult story, this will readily appeal to an adult reader. Very visual writing and the makings of a classic.” — Jane Finch for Readers’ Favorite
“I absolutely adored this novel; I couldn’t find a single thing to dislike about it, other than of course the characters we are meant to dislike. The secondary characters were just as well rounded as the primary characters, leaving the reader with a feeling of contentment at the end of the novel. Each character brought his or her own three-dimensional personality to the novel, giving me a reason to either love or hate them passionately.” — Acwoolet for Online Book Club
“I thoroughly enjoyed Elephant Dreams. It is a captivating story with a spunky heroine who is determined to turn her life around. I loved the unique settings that covered New York City slums, an orphan train and a Texas Circus. I would recommend it for teens through adults.” – 5 Stars, Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase
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Well, to be honest, after I requested to review this book…I forgot what it was about. I do this often, decide I want to read something, put it on a list, and then when I open it, it’s a surprise! I just came off reading two very fantastical young adult books, so to be transported back in time in New York City, at least to begin with, was a change in pace. One I very much enjoyed.
A rough encounter on the New York streets gives Fiona Finn the courage she needs to do whatever it takes to improve her situation in life. This leads her across the country, and across Texas, as she finds a family to call home. Deeringer’s writing brings the circus to life, both in the tent and out–especially the work that goes into providing a couple of hours of entertainment.
I really enjoyed this story, and all along I was rooting for Fiona, hoping she would finally be safely out of the grasp of her difficult past and moving toward a future of her own making.
I liked reading about Bolivar, too. The descriptions of this gentle, giant elephant and the relationship Fiona built with him. How he had his own “personality.” How he was for more than just show–he pulled his weight in responsibilities.
Eugene, the one who brought them together and taught Fiona how to care for Bolivar, was another wonderful character. One of the things Deeringer portrayed well was the change of Fiona’s perception of him, and his opening up to her.
I found the idea of the Children’s Aid Society ringing a bell, like I’d heard of it before. But it functioned as a reminder that often we don’t take the time to consider our own history, especially the darker parts of it, near as often as we should. The afterward, as well, contained some interesting information. I could tell the book had been well researched, but I had no idea Mollie Bailey’s Circus was a real thing.
This was an enjoyable book, I’m glad I had a chance to read it.
*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Martha Deeringer lives with her husband and their large, extended family on a central Texas cattle ranch. She writes magazine articles, often about history, for children and adults and is a frequent contributor to regional and national magazines.
Martha also writes Young Adult fiction, occasionally inspired by her teaching experiences or the antics of her children and grandchildren. She loves ranch life and sometimes abandons her writing to cope with assorted issues involving kids, dogs, cats, horses, orphan calves, and occasionally armadillos, coyotes and rattlesnakes.
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THREE SIGNED COPIES!
JANUARY 15-24, 2018
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