A lush and thrilling romantic fable about two lovers, set against the scandalous burlesques, midnight séances, and aerial ballets of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair.
On the eve of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair, Ferret Skerritt, ventriloquist by trade, con man by birth, isn’t quite sure how it will change him or his city. Omaha still has the marks of a filthy Wild West town, even as it attempts to achieve the grandeur and respectability of nearby Chicago. But when he crosses paths with the beautiful and enigmatic Cecily, his whole purpose shifts and the fair becomes the backdrop to their love affair.
One of a traveling troupe of actors that has descended on the city, Cecily works in the Midway’s Chamber of Horrors, where she loses her head hourly on a guillotine, playing Marie Antoinette. And after closing, she rushes off, clinging protectively to a mysterious carpetbag, never giving Ferret a second glance. But a moonlit ride on the swan gondola, a boat on the lagoon of the New White City, transforms changes everything, and the fair’s magic begins to take its effect.
Reminiscent of Water for Elephants or The Night Circus, The Swan Gondola is a transporting read.
About the Author
Timothy Schaffert grew up on a farm in Nebraska and now lives in Omaha. He is the author of four previous novels. Schaffert teaches creative writing and literature at the University of NebraskaLincoln.
Praise for The Swan Gondola…
“A highly atmospheric entertainment, full of plot twists, historical flavor, and paranormal romance.…Readers who enjoyed Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants or Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus are likely to be captivated by The Swan Gondola.” —The Washington Post
“I am a hopeless romantic. And if you’re like me, [this book] may just be the perfect book for you.…I found myself wishing, almost to the point of believing, that Ferret Skerritt were real, if for no other reason than to prove that magic was at one time genuine.” —Wichita Eagle
“A ventriloquist in a hot air balloon lifts off from Omaha, Neb., crashes in a strange land, and presides over an emerald cathedral. Yes, it’s The Wizard of Oz. But it’s also the loose construct of The Swan Gondola, which pays tribute to L. Frank Baum’s classic, yet veers off on its own path of magic and deception. An entertaining and thoroughly researched book.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch