Step Right Up Ladies & Gents! You Won’t Believe This…

Posted on June 8, 2016 «
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book review magruders curiosity cabinet hp wood

Book Review
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood

Cover lust. The two words that sum up why I requested this book via Netgalley. It’s bright. It’s beautiful. I love it.

Historical fiction set in NYC in the early part of the 20th century. The phrase that sums up what drew me into the story once I started reading it.

And with that, I can say…

book review magruders curiosity cabinet hp wood


Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet was the perfect companion during my crazy airline travel adventures last month. I felt a bit like Kitty during my travels—adrift among a curious cast of characters all with their own struggles, but willing to take the time to commiserate with me and help me get home.

With a curious cast of characters, none more important than another, H.P. Wood is able to capture the essence of Coney Island near the start of the 20th Century, the struggles of the Unusuals and a few key Dozens (the “normal” people) and produce a delightful story of what it means to be human and how one can craft their own meaning of family.

My favorite character by far in the story was Rosalind. Rosalind performs on Coney Island as a half man/half woman. Wood does give us a peek into the performance and the shock it brings to the Dozens who attend the show. I was mesmerized by Rosalind’s acceptance of self and how the other characters, both the Unusuals and the key Dozens at the center of the story, accept Rosalind just as he is. Rosalind’s acceptance by the other characters was refreshing. There were no long drawn out explanations about his gender and his life choices, it just was.


book review magruders curiosity cabinet hp wood


Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is a character study. There’s no great mystery or love story. It’s is truly about the people that inhabit Coney Island and how they are thrown together to save each other. It’s strictly about how difficult times shape us as human beings and how those difficult moments in life can bring out the best in some of us and the worst. It was a different kind of historical fiction novel from that standpoint for me. The characters drove the story and I was delighted to go on this journey of self-discovery with them. It was an adventure I won’t soon forget and one that I wouldn’t mind going on again.


book review magruders curiosity cabinet hp wood


The Quick Book Review

Step Right Up Ladies & Gents! You Won’t Believe This…

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet

Author: H.P. Wood
Published on: June 7, 2016
Pages: 368
Genres: historical fiction, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Up


I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

book review magruders curiosity cabinet hp wood

About H.P. Wood

H. P. Wood is the granddaughter of a mad inventor and a sideshow magician. Instead of making things disappear, she makes books of all shapes and sizes. She has written or edited works on an array of topics, including the history of the Internet, the future of human rights, and the total awesomeness of playing with sticks. She lives in Connecticut with a charming and patient husband, a daughter from whom she steals all her best ideas, and more cats than is strictly logical.

(from GoodReads)


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6 responses to “Step Right Up Ladies & Gents! You Won’t Believe This…

  1. Hey, thanks for this supercool post! I’m so glad you liked the book and glad to have stumbled across this review. I love what you say about the book and the pull quotes are very cool.

    • You are welcome, HP. I really did enjoy the book and had a hard time time choosing which quotes to share! Maybe you would like to be a part of my In the Spotlight feature next year?

  2. Oh, I love the cover too! This sounds like a very interesting read. There aren’t a lot of character driven stories that I have come across lately. Great review.