The Blue Moon Circus


After a flood destroys Lewis Tully’s circus in 1919, he vows his circus career is over. However, his lifelong love of the circus prevails and in 1926, he is persuaded to try again. This is where the real story begins. As Lewis and his best friend Shelby start gathering acts and animals, friendships are renewed and new allegiances are forged as the group works cohesively to develop a mud show intended to entertain small town folks. Rope walkers, Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, an aging mystical magician, strong men, animal trainers, costumers, and an orphaned nine year old boy, among others, develop relationships that are stronger and more complex than those of many families.

A novel written about the circus could easily be sullied by stock side-show characters. Raleigh avoids this trap by providing a cast of well-developed, dynamic personalities whose sometimes stilted interactions defy circus stereotypes. Many are friends from previous shows, and it is this back story that makes this novel a page turner.

Circus jargon and fascinating historical tidbits about the operations of the circus are woven smoothly into the story. For example, after a camel is purchased from a shady dealer, Lewis and Shelby discover a brand alerting them that this is a psychotic beast once owned by the United States Army as part of an experiment to use camels in the desert. Exchanges with rival circuses demonstrate the fierce competition between shows.

Step right up and join the Blue Moon Circus. Once you start reading, you will feel like one of the roustabouts and will root for Lewis and his circus to make it this time.

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