Sent to me by a dear, sweet reader friend, The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler follows as Simon Watson watches his eighteenth century home is sliding into the Atlantic Ocean. His is desperate for a way to save it, but his job at the local library has just been discontinued and he has no money and no one to ask for help. When a mysterious, and extremely old, book arrives addressed to him, he is grateful for the distraction from his crumbling home and life. He is fascinated to discover the book is a record of a circus from the late 1790s and that it may have a connection to his own family history. Meanwhile, Simon is also making every effort to help his absent and struggling sister. When the book reveals that the women in his family tend to drown themselves on July 24th, he is desperate to find a way to save her.
I really enjoyed this book and its alternating timelines- one, the life of the circus and how it came to be, and the other, Simon's time and how he came to be. Simon is nearly all alone in the world- his parents both died when Simon was barely an adult and able to care for himself, yet he had to raise his younger sister, too. As soon as she is legally an adult, she leaves as well. All he has left is his home that is inching closer to the cliff's edge by the day.
This is something that I should have known to fix years ago should have known needed maintaining, but no one told me. I was left a house and a sister, with no instructions on either. And the cliff creeps closer.
This book was interesting and a quick read for me. I liked the historical details about and early circus as well as the fascinating characters in both timelines. This would make a lovely book for cooler fall weather, maybe with a cup of warm cider and a wool blanket to keep you company.