Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Wenches love getting recommendations from each other and our Saucy Readers. But sometimes, we “meet” a book the way one would meet a potential love interest in a novel. And we love it when that happens, a whole new world between two covers where no Wench has gone before! Wench Natalie came across one such book and was lovely enough to review it for all of us.

Click through to read her review.


People ask me frequently, what do you like to do for fun? Well, of course my number one answer is to read! The typical response I most often get from telling someone that I like to read is, “Umm, I’m not really into reading” or “I love to read, I just don’t have time.” Now, I understand both reasons for not reading, but upon hearing these reasons I just think that the person I’m speaking with has not found the right book for them. When you do find the right book, you make the time to read it and dislike reading a little bit less. With the right book, you’ll go on adventures and not even notice that time has passed you by! (Yup, skipped several meals with a good book and not even realized it.) With the wrong book, even the most avid reader can fall asleep... so you are not alone out there if you dislike reading because of choosing the wrong books. Now, my number two activity I like to do for fun — yes, it still involves books — is browse through a book store! Ah, that glorious moment when I open the door and step into a book store is like taking the first step into church just moments before Mass! (You can put any faith and its building of worship in its place... for me it is a book store.) There are so many different books to choose from and sections to go wandering through. Who needs a passport when you have a book store? I don’t recall if I’ve looked for a clock in a book store, but if the owners were wise they would not put one in, so that way you could just lose all sense of time! (Wait. I always lose track of time in a book store.)

Well, sometime in the last year I had been worshiping... I mean, walking... through my local Barnes and Noble (yes, I like small chains as well... books are books), and I came across this book with a pronounced black-and-white cover. The cover pictured a man and a woman in turn-of-the-century clothes and a black-and-white circus tent behind them. Flashes of red swirls were the only accent color on the cover, causing the combination to just pop off the shelf. I would really like to say I don’t judge a book by its cover, but I’m guilty, as great artwork can really hook a girl. I quickly checked to see if my cash flow would allow me enough money to buy the book I was eyeing; yes, turned out I did have enough to buy the book that day. Who cares that I had library books at home waiting for me, or other books to read that were dying to get my attention? This book had lured me in like a lover winking from across the room, and I just had to take it home with me that night.

All settled in to read, I opened the book, and a flood of nostalgia came to me as I turned page after page. As I read further into the book, I was reminded of walking up to the circus and buying a ticket, the intoxicating smell of freshly popped popcorn, billows of cotton candy, candied apples, and the overall childhood enthusiasm engulfing me. Instead of the air pipes that are normally associated with a circus, it was as if I could hear a music box tinkling away a charm to lure me into its magic. However, unlike the circus of my childhood, this circus was slightly different, more like a night at Cirque du Soleil than the Ringling Brothers. A circus based more on illusions than clowns, more contortionists than bearded ladies, performers rather than caged animals, and the kicker was that it was open only at night! This mysterious circus traveled around the world with its next stop unknown. After showing up by train in a town overnight, it had its black-and-white tents set up by morning, with a sign telling the folks of the town that Le Cirque des Rêves would open the following evening.

In The Night Circus, Le Cirque des Rêves forms the grandiose, black-and-white backdrop to both a love story and a competition that is held by two old, feuding magicians. A wager between the old magicians affects the fate of not just the two young apprentices, Celia and Marco, but every life that is touched by the circus, from the owners, to the performers, to the patrons. Neither Celia nor Marco, who were each selected in childhood because of unique gifts, know that the other is their opponent in this duel between their teachers. Not knowing whom they are competing against, only that their opponent is a member of the circus, Celia and Marco create tents that defy the laws of physics and are fueled only by the deepest imagination and magic. As the story progresses, each tent or experience they create for the patrons becomes their calling card, and an inadvertent love note to each other. Thrown together for events with Le Cirque des Rêves, Celia and Marco are undeniably drawn closer, and the spark of love forms. What will become of the dueling lovers? What will become of Le Cirque des Rêves? Like the high-rise tightrope walker whose balance can sway one way or the other while crossing the rope with no net... we the audience sit with bated breath to wait and see.

I rated this book:

The reason for the high rating is that Ms. Morgenstern’s writing brought to life the circus right in my living room. I often had to go get popcorn or caramel apple to satisfy my cravings that the book brought up. I do hope you enjoy her magical circus!


  1. Love the review!! The book sounds amazing.

  2. Thank you Shau. I have had friends who have loved it! And not kidding when I had to go get pop corn (I bought a hot air popper for my pop corn) and caramel apples. Now I know where the best apples are at in Wisconsin.


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