Leitzel grew up wanting to be like her mother, Nellie, a famous trapeze artist. She loved performing and when she got the chance to join her mother's act, she quickly out paced her. Alfredo Codona, also grew up in the circus. His parents were both trapeze artists. As a baby his father took him flying in his act in a pouch attached to his waist.
Leitzel's introduction to the circus was at the top in an act in which her mother was a star. Alfredo's family had a small circus that traveled from town to town around Europe. However, he was a serious aerialist and made it into the larger circuses as a member of the Flying Codonas. The book makes it clear that while the life of a circus performer was hard. These two loved the attention and loved flying high above the crowd.
The pair came together as King and Queen of the combined Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus. They fell in love, married, but didn't live happily ever after. Their union led to tragedy both for themselves and those close to them.
I enjoyed this book. I learned about circuses large and small. If you're fascinated by the circus life you'll love this book. I thought the main characters were well portrayed. The author gives enough of their early life that you can see their intense desire to excel in the big top. The picture of life in the circus is not all glamor. It was a hard, demanding life, but if you craved stardom and were good, it had many rewards.
I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.