The Church of Marvels


It is 1895 in New York City. A baby is found in a public toilet by a night worker. Odile’s twin sister has ran away from the family’s circus. Alphie’s lost and hoping her husband will save her from captivity. Their lives are all somehow connected.

I struggled a bit with this one, but I enjoyed it in the end. I went into the book not realizing that it was from multiple perspectives. As I’ve stated before, I have no problem with this, but the narrative voice of the characters really didn’t feel very different from one another. At least the order of perspectives seemed to be in a pattern (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, etc). Once I got past one “round” of chapters I knew what to expect, but I still did not see much difference in how the characters were written. The writing itself is nothing too special. I would certainly say that I kept reading for the plot’s conclusion and not for the characters or writing.

Plot-wise I really liked the novel. The connection between the characters took a while to figure out, but I liked the conclusion. The wrap-up might have been a bit hasty and a few big things are only briefly mentioned in the epilogue. I can see how the relationship between characters can be seen as too coincidental, but I didn’t think it was too badly done. I’ve certainly read less believable plots! I also cannot speak about the accuracy of the representation of asylums, homosexuality, and culture of the time period, but the novel did make me curious enough to learn more.

I’ve rated The Church of Marvels 3/5 stars on Goodreads, but it is easily a 3.5, if not 4 star read, for me. These few issues hindered my enjoyment of the book, but it is not at all a bad debut for Leslie Perry!

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