Book Review: Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read seemed so interesting and I was really excited to give it a read, unfortunately (for reasons I’ll explain below) it just sort of fell flat for me.

Kitty Hayward finds herself alone and quite penniless on the streets of NY City after her mother disappears from their hotel room and she is promptly asked to leave for her inability to pay for the room on her own. Having only recently arrived in NY from England a few days earlier with her mother, she has no clue what to do, or where to go. Sitting on a bench in the park, afraid and hungry, she happens across a strange man who decides to take her under his wing. Archie works for Magruders Curiosity Cabinet on Coney Island. A “freak show” if you will of strange and unusual people and props, this side show attraction is filled with a close knit and peculiar bunch. Her new band of friends promises to assist Kitty in finding her missing mother, but not before a strange sickness begins to ravage the city. As the city tumbles into chaos, Kittys hope of finding her mother (and finding her alive) dwindles, and streets of New York delve into panic and violence.

Ok, so as I said earlier, I really didn’t love this book, and part of that may have been my expectations going into it? I had assumed this book would be more focused on the unique characters from the curiosity cabinet taking Kitty under their wing, welcoming her and introducing her into the ways of their little family, all while helping her find her mother. What this book was more about, was a plague ripping it’s way across the city. It was dark and disturbing, and filled with violence and sadness. There were some pretty graphic depictions of death that I was just not expecting. I guess I was imagining more light hearted, maybe even comical? This was not that.

The book seemed overly drawn out, much longer than it really needed to be in my opinion. It was dark and sad, moreso than seemed necessary. Perhaps had I gone into it with a different mindset I would have found more enjoyment in it? I will say I did really enjoy the unique characters and their relationships with each other, that was probably the best part of the book to me.

If a dark historical fiction is your jam- this may be the read for you. Just don’t go into it expecting a happy ending for everyone, or any comedic relief from the dark and tragic plot line.

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco