The January book selection for the Portsmouth Book Club is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Here is a brief synopsis from the publisher:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
Here is the review from Publisher's Weekly:
Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus. Celia is a five-year-old with untrained psychokinetic powers when she is unceremoniously dumped on her unsuspecting father, Hector Bowen, better known as Le Cirque des Reves' Prospero the Entertainer. Hector immediately hatches a sinister scheme for Celia: pit her against a rival's young magician in an epic battle of magic that will, by design, result in the death of one of the players, though neither Celia nor her adversary, Marco, is informed of the inevitable outcome. What neither Hector nor his rival count on is that Celia and Marco will eventually fall in love. Their mentors—Marco's mentor, Alexander, plucked him from the London streets due to his psychic abilities—attempt to intervene with little success as Celia and Marco barrel toward an unexpected and oddly fitting conclusion. Supporting characters—such as Bailey, a farm boy who befriends a set of twins born into the circus who will drastically influence his future; Isobel, a circus employee and onetime girlfriend of Marco's; and theatrical producer Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre—are perfectly realized and live easily in a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom. This is an electric debut on par with Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
Thanks for a great book club night to discuss The Weight of Water! We had a big group and the dialogue was wonderful as always. Here is my review: The Weight of Water Book Review (http://blogs.seacoastonline.com/seacoast-nh-books/2012/12/01/the-weight-of-water-by-anita-shreve/)
Here are the rest of the books included in this month's vote which didn't make the cut:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (http://www.amazon.com/Perks-Being-Wallflower-Stephen-Chbosky/dp/1451696191) by Stephen Chbosky
The Phantom Tollbooth (http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Tollbooth-50th-Anniversary/dp/0375869034/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355279387&sr=1-1&keywords=the+phantom+tollbooth) by Norton Juster
The Casual Vacancy (http://www.amazon.com/Casual-Vacancy-J-K-Rowling/dp/0316228532/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355279449&sr=1-1&keywords=a+casual+vacancy) by J.K. Rowling
Just Like Us (http://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-Us-Mexican-America/dp/1416538984/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355279480&sr=1-1&keywords=just+like+us) by Helen Thorpe
Agenda 21 (http://www.amazon.com/Agenda-21-Glenn-Beck/dp/1476716692/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355280266&sr=1-1&keywords=agenda+21) by Glenn Beck