The Remarkable Courtship of General Tom Thumb

Nicholas Rinaldi. Scribner, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4767-2732-5
Rinaldi (Bridge Fall Down) imaginatively blends fact and fiction in this breezy 19th-century historical. Celebrated showman P.T. Barnum finds and hires five-year-old Charlie Stratton, a little person whom Barnum rechristens with the stage name General Tom Thumb. Tom performs with other members of the exotic troupe at Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. The “precocious” and “full of mischief” boy impersonates world figures, dances and sings, and tells jokes, making him rich and famous. The diminutive star and his parents embark on a three-year European tour in search of international acclaim. Much later, on the eve of the American Civil War, Tom and Barnum witness firsthand the shocking horrors of the First Battle of Bull Run. Burned out and lonely, Tom falls in love with and woos fellow performer Lavinia “Vinny” Warren (32 inches in height to Tom’s 35), and Barnum, always the showman, arranges an extravagant wedding for them. The Lincolns host a White House reception for the celebrated newlyweds after which the patriotic Tom serves as a secret military courier during their honeymoon tour through New England and Canada. While on the road, Tom carries out his dangerous messenger duties while Vinny, ruminating between performances held in different cities, longs to start a family. As the war winds down, Tom and Vinny must overcome the darker challenges they encounter in Rinaldi’s top-notch entertainment. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 08/12/2014
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-4767-2733-2
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4767-2734-9
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