Abandoned by her mother and then given away by her father, she spent her childhood learning to become the ‘Lagoon Creature’: part acrobat, part clown, part circus hand.
It’s not a bad life – Rafferty Braun, the ringmaster, provides her with an ongoing education, and now, as a young woman, she has the kind of freedom her condition could have easily taken away from her. As much as she tries not to, however, Maggie can’t help wishing for more.
Charlotte Voigt could not be more different. The talented tightrope walker is a star of the circus, with the entertainment world at her slipper-clad feet. She is also a liar.
When an opportunity arises to try on Charlotte’s identity for her own, Maggie doesn’t hesitate. She wants to know what it feels like to be admired, to be accepted, to be beautiful. And the circus’s sudden decision to cross Australia via wagon provides her with the perfect cover.
Each new town or remote settlement brings the women closer to understanding one another. Resentments begin to fade, but in their place are secrets that could undo the delicate trust they’ve built: Maggie, with her alternative life pretending to be the glamorous tightrope walker; Charlotte lying about her background, her family, and the reason she reappeared with the circus after several years’ absence.
The sawdust road will test their willpower. The truth will determine their futures.
Kerri Turner is an Australian author of historical fiction. Her books and short stories focus on female roles throughout history that have been largely overlooked or forgotten, and often include elements of the performing arts.
Her first book, The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers, was released in 2019, followed by The Daughter of Victory Lights in 2020. Her short stories have appeared in several national and international publications, and she has been a speaker for such diverse events as International Women’s Day and the Heroine’s Festival.
With a Diploma of Publishing and an Associate Degree (Dance), she splits her time between writing, and teaching ballet and tap dancing to seniors.
“This is a powerful and moving novel, which captures a unique period in Australia’s circus history. Told in Kerri Turner’s customary evocative style, this story of sisterhood and metamorphosis will have readers glued to the page until the final act.” – Lauren Chater, author
Image: The Magpie’s Sister – courtesy of Echo Publishing