We carry our families like anchors, rooting us in storms, making sure we never drift from where and who we are. We carry our families within us the way we carry our breath underwater, keeping us afloat, keeping us alive. I’ve been lifting anchors since eighteen. I’ve been holding my breath since before I was born.
Simon Watson is cursed. His sister is cursed. His whole family is cursed. He just doesn’t know it. Until a strange book shows up on his doorstep and leads Simon down the rabbit hole of circus life and family history. In a small coastal town, Simon is watching his parents’ home slowly fall into the sea. His sister is off somewhere with a circus and his employment at the local library is about to end.
With unemployment comes free time that Simon fills with pages and pages of his family’s strange history. Amongst the stories of mermaids and wild boys, he find an unusual commonality. The women in his family are dying…always on July 24th. When Simon’s sister, Enola, announces she’s coming home, Simon searches the pages of the old book for a clue as to how to save her from meeting the same fate the other women in their family have.
You guys know that The Night Circus is one of my all-time favorite books. Seriously, I will rave about it for hours if you let me. So when I picked up The Book of Speculation, I was curious if I would enjoy it as much as I did The Night Circus. In short, no. But not because Erika Swyler isn’t a fantastic novelist. More because comparing the two is like apples and oranges. The Book of Speculation alternates between past and present as it intwines two stories of family, magic, and the curses that follow us.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I had a few moments where I wished Swyler would just get to the point. You could see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together but she just wouldn’t put in the last piece. And honestly, I’m so glad she waited. The ending of this book was so satisfying, and while it could have been shorter, the journey to it was so enjoyable! I highly recommend picking up The Book of Speculation if you’re looking for a novel with a touch of magic to it.