Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Museum of Extraordinary Things (Alice Hoffman)

It's hard to believe but The Museum of Extraordinary Things was the first book I ever read by Alice Hoffman.  Even though many of her novels were bestsellers, I just never got around to reading them.  However, I knew I had to check our her latest when I saw the synopsis.  Historical fiction set in New York in the early 1900s is right up my alley; couple that with a love story built into a Coney Island "freak show," and I knew this was my cup of tea.

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the man behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, who also performs as the Mermaid alongside the "Wolfman" and the "Butterfly Girl."  One night, she catches sight of Eddie Cohen, a photographer of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and instantly falls in love.  When Eddie launches an investigation into one of the factory workers' deaths, he and Coralie come across each other again, only to discover that the museum is much more sinister than it looks within its depths.

Mesmerizing in its language, The Museum of Extraordinary Things is about young love prevailing in one of the most tumultuous times in our country's history.  It also begs the question "Are things ever really what they appear to be?"  If this is Alice Hoffman's writing, all I have to say is what took me so long to find it?