Friday, 5 October 2018 / No comments

Circus Hearts 1 - All the Little Bones by Ellie Marney

Title: All the Little Bones (Circus Hearts 1)Author: Ellie Marney
Publisher: Bearded Lady Press
Date of Publication: 1st September 2018
Source: Purchased by reviewer


A teenage trapeze artist and an apprentice strongman on the run from a terrible crime… 

Seventeen-year-old Sorsha Neary’s life is changed in one night when she defends herself behind the vans of her family circus troupe. Now Sorsha and apprentice strongman Colm Mackay are travelling south, to evade the fallout and escape the long arm of the law. All they have in their favour is talent, an old promise, and slim acquaintance with the crew members and performers of their new home, Klatsch’s Karnival. But the question for Sorsha and Colm isn’t if the police will catch up with them, but when…


Oh. My. Goodness.

Sorsha and Colm have made a quick getaway from the circus they call home and are headed south to a permanent show, where the boss owes Sorsha's aunt a favour. The events surrounding their departure are revealed gradually, and Sorsha suffers from flashbacks and nightmares as she relives the events of the night that changed everything. Too young to drive herself, Colm has been roped in to see her safely to her destination. They've been warned away from each other, but their enforced physical closeness leads to a deeper connection. It's only a matter of time until the police catch up to them. Will their new friends keep them safe, or turn them over?

What I loved about this book:

  • The circus! Who hasn't wanted to run away and join a circus and star in the trapeze? Or maybe a ground-based act if you're scared of heights like me. Circus life always has an exotic feel, and the addition of Parlari, a traditional dialect particular to travelling performers, lends an authentic touch to this story. 
  • Slow burn romance - as the tension in the story builds, the romance builds with it. Ellie is a master at combining crime and romance, and she writes the most delicious kissing scenes.
  • The supporting characters - everyone has a story, and no-one is flat or two dimensional. 
  • Colm - strongman. Muscles. Hello.
What gave me pause:
  • This is not a negative at all, and it's a credit to the writing, but Sorsha's flashbacks and nightmares made difficult reading for me. She is undoubtedly in the neighbourhood of PTSD, and it's so realistic that it made me uncomfortable.
  • If sexual assault (or attempted assault) is likely to be triggering for you, keep that in mind when choosing whether to read this book.
I devoured this book in a day, and can't wait for the sequels!

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