Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Queen of the Air, by Dean Jensen - Book Review

BookQueen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus
Author: Dean N. Jensen
Genre: Historical, NonFiction 
Publisher/Publish Date: Crown / June 11, 2013
Source: ARC curtsey of publisher
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
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(**spoilers ahead**)

As the most famous woman in the world at the turn of the 20th century, Leitzel lived a life of glamor and celebrity as a trapeze artist and circus performer. Much like her mother, she started performing young, and by the age of 17 was the princess of the bigtop with top billing in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth.

This is the story of those who came before her, her rise to fame, many suitors (and three husbands), and her one true love. Leitzel's tale is told along side that of Alfredo Codona, who fell in love with her at the age of 16, when they were both performing in the Barnum & Bailey Circus. After 18 years apart, their paths cross again while employed by the same circus... and I won't give any more of their story away. You'll just have to read the book.

I was interested in reading this book after reading and loving Water for Elephants, and this true life circus story was fascinating. The author, Dean Jensen, who originally began work on this book in the 1970's, includes an impressive selection of interviews with people who knew Leitzel, many who have since passed away. I enjoyed the back story of how the circus was big business in the first part of the 20th century, and the lives of those who ran it and were it's biggest stars.

1 comment:

  1. I liked all of the interviews in this one too. It made it feel much more real and personal than a book with just historical documents can sometimes feel.