The narrative structure essentially alternates between the stories of Coralie, who has grown up in the Museum of Extraordinary Things, and Eddie, who gets pulled into her world not once, but twice. But within the sections narrated by each character, Hoffman also splits the narrative between back-story vignettes and the current period in 1911. And never once did I feel confused or put off by the somewhat complicated framework.
I hadn't intended to read this so quickly, but as both an instrument of procrastination and a plain old page-turner, I couldn't stop reading.
from the publisher: Caralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind the Museum of Extraordinary Things. a Coney Island freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Caralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's "museum," alongside performers like the Wolfman and the Butterfly Girl. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.
The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman's disappearance. And he ignites the heart of Coralie.
Alice Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in this tender and moving story of young love in tumultuous times.