Reading Between The Wines: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

by Jenn (eating bender) on June 3, 2013

Reading Between the Wines - Night Circus

Last night’s meeting of Reading Between the Wines was so much fun! Between the circus-themed goodies provided by Shanley (our hostess) and the Bacardi favors provided by Nicole (more on that in a bit), we had a great time. Oh, and the book discussion was fun, too. 😉

I actually read The Night Circus at the end of last year and loved it, so it was nice to have a refresher when the book was chosen for this month’s meeting. Shanley did an amazing job with the main food items. You can see the delicious Barnum’s Animal Crackers in the photo above, which brought with them a trip down memory lane. She also prepared two types of popcorn, crescent dogs and pretzel bites. It was like being front and center at the concession stand inside the big top – so cool!


Emily brought us an appetizer of delicious deviled eggs…


…and Ari brought some yummy chips and dip. It was a great spread.


For dessert, Sheena brought us gelato from Dolce Vita!


I couldn’t resist having some of each flavor: strawberry, vanilla, espresso and creme brulee (if I remember correctly). All four were amazing, especially when combined!


As for the drinks – I was in charge of the wine, but ultimately it was Nicole’s Bacardi cocktail that stole the show! The company had supplied her with coupons, muddlers, visors and recipe books for all of us. And the cucumber-cilantro drink was delicious.


Ari and I tried out the visors. I may have to wear mine to my next golf round!


With plates in hands and visors on heads, we sat down to chat about The Night Circus.

Night Circus

In Short

This book is centered on Le Cirque des Rêves, a circus that arrives without warning and is only open at night. In the midst of all the crowd excitement and amazing performances, a duel is underway between two young magicians named Celia and Marco. They have been trained since childhood for this purpose, Celia by her magician father – Prospero the Enchanter – and Marco by the mysterious “man in the grey suit.” Unfortunately, this is a competition in which only one magician can come out victorious, which becomes problematic when Celia and Marco fall in love. The fate of the entire circus and everyone involved is in their hands. Read this book if you’re a fan of stories about magic, of course, but also if you want to be taken on a journey to an incredibly creative and well-plotted world that will stretch your imagination in unexpected ways.

The Details

What I appreciated most about this book is the level of detail that Erin Morgenstern puts into describing the circus. Although much of what astounds the attendees of Le Cirque des Rêves couldn’t happen in real life, you will want it to (though I guess I’d settle for an awesome movie). The book spans decades and oceans, which can at first feel confusing as it jumps forward and backward in both years and locations. But once you’re oriented with the characters, it gets easier.

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the supporting characters, who each seemed to have colorful and imaginative stories of their own. There are the twins, Widget and Poppet, who were born and raised in the circus. There’s Chandresh, the circus owner, and Bailey, an ordinary boy who is entranced by the circus and finds a way to sneak in during the daytime. There’s Herr Friedrick Thiessen, a clockmaker who makes several important contributions to the circus. And there’s the feud beneath the surface of Celia and Marco’s fierce competition – the one between their trainers, Prospero (aka Hector Bowen) and Alexander. I love when an author is able to get me interested in more than just the main storyline, and Erin Morgenstern does this brilliantly.

This is the kind of book that you can’t read in a day (at least for me), not because it didn’t grab my attention enough, but because it really deserves to be read carefully and with attention to detail. It’s a complicated story from start to finish and if you miss an important piece along the way, it’s easy to get lost. But I think that’s part of its charm, and if you’re up for the challenge you will definitely be rewarded by the time you reach the last page.

Have you read The Night Circus? If so, what did you think?

I also realized that I have yet to review last month’s book club pick, so expect that later this week! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Any big plans for the first week of June?



{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erica June 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

How fun is this? I love the circus themed foods! Yall needed some circus peanuts too ;). I love those. Glad you had fun
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2 Jenn (eating bender) June 7, 2013 at 10:17 am

Ooh peanuts would have been a great addition. 😉


3 Cara (Twinthusiast) June 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm

You are all too cute with the animal crackers. As you know, I did enjoy this book. Her writing style reminds me of the “magical realism” appearing in some of the great South American authors such as Garcia Marquez and Allende. Agree that it would be a great movie!
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4 Jenn (eating bender) June 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

I really hope they make it into a movie but there seems to be a lot of stalling. Fingers crossed it happens someday!


5 Ari @ Ari's Menu June 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I had so much fun!! I love our visor pick, and just you in general! :)
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6 Jenn (eating bender) June 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

Right back at you!! :)


7 Karla June 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I haven’t read this yet, but after your review,I’d love to! I appreciate he thorough review and book recommendation, Jenn. I need to get moving on all of these awesome reads I have on-deck thanks to you! :)

This looks like the MOST fun book club, by the way. How cute are you all with your themed snacks?!
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8 Jenn (eating bender) June 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

I really think you’ll like this one so you’ll have to let me know if you pick it up! :) It was definitely a fun meeting – we are really starting to get in the book club groove. Wish you lived closer so you could join us, of course!


9 Leucadia Chiropractors June 4, 2013 at 6:53 am

Looks really fun. Where can I grab a copy of that book? And any suggestion on a book discussion event? In how to make it fun?


10 Jenn (eating bender) June 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

I think you can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. :) As far as making the book discussion fun, I’d say try to incorporate elements of the book into your food (if you’re serving food) and, if you really want to get creative, maybe consider coming as one of your favorite characters and talking in a way they would talk for the whole night? I think that would be awesome!


11 Susan June 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Mmm… circus snacks. Love the theme! I, too, enjoyed The Night Circus and all the vivid descriptions. Definitely made me wish it were a real place!


12 Jenn (eating bender) June 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

Thanks! There are so many magical worlds I wish were real, haha. :)


13 Bill June 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

I never heard of this book but, being a fan of magic, I certainly will take a look. Thank you for this post!


14 Photo Booth NC September 10, 2013 at 4:06 am

I’ve had this one on my TBR for forever — I almost never do audiobooks unless on a road trip but I might have to give this one a try — you’ve got me curious about this one!


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