Author: Kimberly Duffy
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
Two women--bound by blood, torn apart by circumstance--find together that true strength comes in many forms.
In 1911, Mabel MacGinnis is Europe's strongest woman and has performed beside her father in the Manzo Brothers Circus her entire life. When he dies unexpectedly, she loses everything she's ever known and sets off in the company of acrobat Jake Cunningham in hope of finding the mother she thought was dead.
Isabella Moreau, America's most feted aerialist, has given everything to the circus. But age and injury now threaten her security, and Isabella, stalked by old fears, makes a choice that risks everything. Then her daughter Mabel appears alongside the man who never wanted to see Isabella again, and she is forced to face the truth of where, and in what, she derives her worth.
As Mabel and Isabella's lives become entangled beneath the glittering lights and flying trapeze of Madison Square Garden, their resiliency and resolve are tested as they learn the truth of what it means to be strong.
Reviewer: Elisha Varela
I liked the description of the circus. It felt so real and life-like.
This is a marriage of convenience, which was not made clear in the book synopsis. If you dislike this trope, I do not recommend it. I am not into this type of trope, but my sister is, so I would recommend it to her.
It was a bit awkward at times with the couple. I just wanted to zoom by those parts.
I enjoyed the romance even though it was a marriage of convenience. The feelings still felt real. Jake’s character had me from the first moment I read about him. The way he treated Mabel was so beautiful. He tried to show her that she was more than just her strength, which others made her feel worthless about. She was beautiful and loved. Man, oh man, Jake is such a great character.
This was a great book despite my dislike of the marriage of convenience. It dealt with difficult topics that the author wrote wonderfully.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Nora St. Laurent
My husband and I were memorized by our Cirque Du Soleil experience this past Christmas. Wow, it was a magical event under the big top tents. I’ll never forget it. So, when an opportunity came to read this story, I jumped at the chance to review it.
I was swept up in this adventure with all the amazing acts, the drama, and the enchanting atmospheric circus backdrop. Mabel McGinnis was known as the strongest woman in the Manzo Brothers Circus. She had done the act with her father her entire life. She tried to do the act without him but could not. Not only that, but she didn’t know who she was without him. The circus is going to give her one more chance. If she can’t perform, she’d have to find another job. As the Manzo Brothers Circus was getting ready to move to the next town, Mabel finds hidden letters in her father’s belongings, addressed to her from her mother. He said she died. Why did he lie to her? This changed everything. Forget the circus act. She had to find her mother and, in the process, find herself.
Isabella Moreau, America’s most celebrated Aerialist, is losing her edge. She is racing against the clock, hoping willpower alone will keep her in the air, but she feels her body betraying her. It’s not as strong as it used to be. She struggles with this and the regret of losing her daughter. Isabella heard the news about her husband’s passing. Could she reconnect with her daughter? Their situation was complex. How could they rebuild their relationship after all these years?
Jake Cunningham feels protective of Mabel and wants to help her on her quest to find her mother. Jake is dealing with loss and grief too. Maybe he’d find the next thing to do. He was done being in the circus. He hopes this trip will stretch them both to become what they were meant to be, not what others labeled them. Jake and Mabel find the truth and a freedom they’d never known before. There was more to life than being the best act and drawing big crowds. Would they have the courage to walk on a new path?
I appreciated the natural spiritual thread that sheds light and gives hope in the dark topics the author talks about postpartum depression, suicide, abuse, loss/grief, abandonment, sexual harassment, and fear. The author also shows redemption, grace, and forgiveness.
I enjoyed the growth of the characters throughout the story. This is a beautiful escape, with a complex cast of characters in a layered story, with a depth and fascination that kept me up late. I adored every minute of reading about these broken, flawed people making their way through life and circumstances beyond their control. The message throughout was that our self-worth is not based on how we look or how well we perform, but our hope and strength come from above and from the one who never fails us.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through Interview & Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this per the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"That was the thing about love - the unimaginable became reality, and every dream proved more than possibility."
Set in the circus world of 1910, this book by Kimberly Duffy will completely captivate you with its lyrical voice, glamour, awe, poignant faith, and life lessons. From the first page of the prologue, the story of Mabel and Isabella will enchant you. Told mostly through third-person narratives of these two women, you will laugh, cry, and rejoice as they face their fears, regrets, past and future individually and together. Themes of forgiveness, finding purpose, and not relying on one's strength ran through all the main characters to bind them in a beautiful tapestry of redemption.
Mabel, in all her physical strength and emotional naivete and tenderness, was easy to love. Though bitter and disillusioned, Jake was an excellent brooding hero with a noble and loyal heart. Isabella was a bit more difficult to comprehend and understand, but her redemption was made sweeter by the utter brokenness she represented. It's an unforgettable historical romance.
I received the book from Bethany House via Interviews & Reviews. I was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
A fascinating look into the 1900s that captured the romance of circus life. The author does not shy away from sin and awkward topics but brings flawed characters with their triumphs and tragedies. It is a marriage of convenience story with secrets on all fronts.
Mabel is grieving her strongman father, and she believes she cannot perform without his support. Having learned her mother is not dead but left her family years ago, Mabel sets out for New York City to find her. Her long-time friend, Jake, proposes a marriage of convenience. Mable wants to protect her reputation. Jake wants to protect his heart. "Love isn't something you deserve. It is something you are offered."
Isabella left Mabel and her husband because she was haunted by the shadows of depression. She has secrets aplenty, including her real name.
This is a story of tangled emotions, relationships, and motives. But through it all, the characters find courage, forgiveness, and faith. One of the verses from her childhood haunts Isabella: "I can do all things through Christ."
Put this one on your "to read" list.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Kristina Hall
The Weight of Air is a unique, engaging historical romance.
Mabel's, Isabella's, and Jake's stories pulled me right into the early 1900s. I loved how Kimberly Duffy developed Mabel's personality. Mabel was such a sympathetic, well-rounded character. I appreciated that she was taller and heavier than the average historical romance heroine. Isabella was also a well-developed character. She'd made lots of mistakes in her life, but I couldn't help but feel for her. Jake was a great character, but I didn't connect as much with him. Maybe he had fewer scenes? I'm not sure.
The plot (and the fascinating parts about the circus) kept me reading even when one of my not-so-favorite tropes appeared ... the marriage of convenience. I did think it was handled pretty well, but there were still a few comments and moments that I could've done without.
Anyway, I appreciated the theme of depending on God woven throughout this story. I'd recommend The Weight of Air to those who enjoy Christian fiction and historical romance. I'm looking forward to seeing what Kimberly Duffy writes next!
Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. My opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
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