The author was inspired by a book of photographs by a man who toured around the US in the 20's and 30's capturing circuses and the like on film. After reading it she went off and did a lot of research about life in the circus. And although the book is a work of fiction, she did use some of the more seemingly tall tales in her book.
The story is told by a 90-something former circus vet. The chapters switch between current day where he resides in a nursing home and his adventures in the circus. There are love triangles, good verses evil, dumb luck, and random coincidence along the way – everything you need to spin a good tale. And that's really what this book is.
I think it would make a great book club book. I so miss my book club.