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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.

Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s sadd
Paperback, 218 pages
Published August 25th 2016 by Interlude Press
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  34 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer has been lingering in my to-read pile for quite some time but that was partly because I read a whole slew of her shorter stories first and I wanted to save (and savor) the bigger one for last. I’ve already read the short story (The Fire-Eater’s Daughter) this was based on. Read Shira Glassman’s (another wonderful author) marvelous detailed review because I can’t possibly express myself any better than that.

Needless to say I really enjoyed the whole 50ies carnival set
Shira Glassman
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review originally written for The Lesbrary from an advanced review copy. If you’ve been craving midcentury f/f, if you want that old-timey vintage movie aesthetic– I mean the sweet, wholesome type rather than noir — Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer is a solid example, with fade-to-black scenes of intimacy that to me added to the period-appropriate feel (since m/f romance from that era wouldn’t have been graphic, either.) I wouldn’t so much call this lesbian romance as lesbian fiction, because Abby’s ...more
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I saw this book was coming out (Isn’t that cover totally lovely?), I couldn’t contain my excitement. I’d never heard about the author but lesbian historical fiction/romance in a carnival setting sounded so very appealing to me and I’m really happy that it was.

The author drew me in right from the first page with her engaging writing style and I took an instant liking to Abby, the main character from whose point of view the story is told. She’s lovely and kind and while she’s young, a bit shy
CR Daylex
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love circuses! This was creative and sweet. I might have preferred the romance a little steamier, but the quality of the writing made up for it.
Suzey Ingold
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautifully evocative novel that really captured not just an era but the atmosphere of the carnival and those involved in that world. As the reader, from the wonderful prose, I felt almost as though I was a fly-on-the-wall around the carnival; completely immersive, and so enjoyable that I read the whole thing almost entirely in one sitting. The romance between Abby and Suprema is sweet and gentle and adds a warm undertone to the story. I'd highly recommend this to anyone with a love for well-w ...more
Alysia Constantine
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Abby Amaro does what everyone threatens to do at some point in life: she runs away with the circus. But unlike most of us (okay, well, at least unlike me), she doesn’t have many other options. She’s stuck with Frank, an emotionally-abusive and violent jerk who proposes marriage and doesn’t take it very well when she refuses. She’s a woman, an opera singer, in the 1950s. So she must leave her family behind, and her brother helps her abscond with a travelling circus.
She falls in with the sideshow
A.M. Leibowitz
This book had me at 1950s, Italian family, opera, and the Midwest. I had high hopes when I began reading, and not only did the story meet my expectations, it exceeded them. What a well-written, sweet, poignant story.

Everything about this is pitch-perfect, from the small details of the setting to the depth of the characters. Abby had me in her corner right from the start. Although the picture of her life is hardly idyllic, she's not one to be pitied, either. There's always the sense that she has
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The world-build of this novel is fantastic. I was immediately entranced by the eccentric and magical carnival setting. And the time period - mid '50 also adds a lot of character to the story itself.

But as with most novels that revolves around the carnival/circus theme, the real stars here are the characters. Abby as a main character does a terrific job of portraying the enchantment and surprise of someone who has never been part of this world. Her naive and pretty much nonjudgmental narration of
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, lbgt
A very short and sweet book about a woman trying to find herself and ends up falling in love along the way with someone she ever expected- another woman.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars Overall
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this, I didn't love it.

The world building was lovely, and the concept was wonderful. But I think the story would have been better served if it had been longer, the ending felt too rushed and easily handled while the romance was only briefly touched on. I don't feel like we ever truly got to know Suprema or form a real attachment to her.

Like I said, the prose of the book was beautiful, and I didn't dislike the book, it's definitely a fast read for anyone who loves the magic of a carniva
Molly Lolly
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Original review on Molly Lolly
Four and a half stars!
This story was wonderful. I adored getting to see a side of the 1950s that’s different than we typically get to see in fiction. The small town Midwest and traveling carnival side of life is amazingly well written and brings you into that time period as if you’re living it with Abby and her family and friends. They deal with problems that today might be trivial but were huge obstacles for them to overcome 60 years ago.
I loved how real Abby felt.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is ~adorable~ and there is this sweet, soft, and gentle feel to the story. Wish it would have been longer tho :')
Casey Clementine
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sapphic
This book was super cute and I loved it! My only real issue is the way the conflict with Frank is resolved in the end? But in any case freaking cute! Read this book!
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Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan along with two of the best cats in the world.. She received her degree in writing from Mount Union College in 2007.
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