My thoughts on... Inzared by Linda Leander
Inzared - 4 stars on Amazon and Goodreads
I found this to be an easy read with an ingenuousness that I feel a YA audience would appreciate. It was a happy read in places, and in others very sad. The language and customs of the Romany circus travellers in the US, back in the 1840s, was something new to learn. Aknowledging that I was reading a work of fiction I assume they were based on fact. The premise of leaving home to join a circus troupe took me back to childhood memories: to books I'd read about Circuses in the 1950s and 1960s. I loved those books as a child, the glamour of them exciting. I was also able to visit a circus at least once a year when it came to my home city and found some parallels with the novels I'd read. Being in the audience, on the tiered seating, and especially if it was a front row seat, was so exciting. The smells were so different from any other entertainment/ theatre shows and the language shouted seemed so foreign to my young ears. Some of that personal experience was revisited as I read Inzared.
The life Inzared carved out for herself was one that would not have been lightly undertaken, since the acceptance in a different cultural society would have been a daunting prospect. L. Leander makes Inzared’s acceptance seem so easy though I don’t think it would have been in real life!
The writing style- especially the ‘hillbilly’ grammar that’s employed– took a little to get used to but it does keep Bertha’s ‘innocence’ ticking over.
Though the ending of Book 1 is sad it will be interesting to see how Inzared, Queen of the Elephants matures in book 2.
Bertha Maude Anderson has no inkling of how famous she will become. She lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the year 1843. Her world changes forever when she is enticed to join The Romanoff Brothers Circus and her name is changed to Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders. Inzared discovers her true calling while learning to live with the nomadic Gypsies. From the hatred shown by some of the performers to the love she finds along the way, Inzared finds herself immersed in the rich folklore and customs of the misunderstood people who call the circus their home. Her one constant is Cecil, the elephant, and together they form a bond that no one can break as Inzared finds herself lured into the world of the Gypsies while clinging to her own roots and trying to break free of the chains that keep her from her destiny.