Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I am a sucker for a now and then story line. I liked the reflection of a love story through Jacob’s memories. He speaks with such feeling about his life that he moves you.

My Synopsis:

Present Day: Jacob, an older man in a nursing home, watches as a circus starts to set up across the street. He begins to tell us the story of meeting his love and his adventures in joining a circus. . .

The Past: Jacob accepts a job as the elephant caretaker to escape his current situation. He meets Rosie, an elephant, and his soon-to-be star attraction, as well as Marlena, a beautiful performer and wife to the director of horses. Through his memories, we watch as they travel and perform. We meet new characters and situations, showing the best and worst of people.

How I Felt:

I think I had all the feelings through this book. Giggles, tears, shock, and sadness. Sara Gruen writes in a way that pulls you right into the story and you are there blow for blow, feeling everything.

I really enjoyed how much I learned about working for a circus during this time in history. There were so many references that I would go and research to see if that really happened, and I was fascinated by it!

I loved the romance of this story. Told from the perspective of Jacob as an old man, then time jumping to his past was a wonderful way to hear about his story.

Overall, I just loved this book from start to finish. It’s one of those books that I would love to be able to read for the first time again!

To Read or Not To Read:

I absolutely loved this book. I think that readers that enjoy a historical fiction romance with a time jump from the present to the past will enjoy this as well!

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Award for Most Popular Book.

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford. 

#waterforelephants #saragruen #shejustlovesbooks

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