Ten year old Micah Tuttle has been raised by his grandfather Ephraim since his parents died several years before. It has been the two of them against the world, and Micah couldn't be happier. His favorite pastime: listening to his grandfather tell him the story of the time he visited the magical Circus Mirandus. But the little world the two inhabit disintegrates as Ephraim's health takes a turn for the worse. There's only one thing that can help them: Ephraim wants to cash in on the miracle the circus' Lightbender promised him when he was ten. But can even the powerful Lightbender grant Ephraim's most cherished wish? He will if Micah has anything to say about it...but what is Ephraim's wish?
Although almost 300 pages long, I finished it in less than four hours. That isn't a testament to my speediness as much as it is Beasley's skill in weaving a story of magical realism and creating wonderful characters. From the second page, you want to reach out and hug Micah and, as is fitting in a book like this, you cheer when characters are introduced to help Micah on his quest, including the earnest Jenny Mendoza and The Messenger. Beasley also does a wonderful job describing the magical circus and its performers; I could vividly imagine every scene she described, and that's not always easy for a reader like me.
The big question the story poses is what is the nature of Magic and why Ephraim and Micah so willingly embrace it? Not to give anything away, but that question can be answered in part by another character...but why is Ephraim so reluctant to talk about them?
I sniffled several times throughout this story, but ultimately it lead to a heartwarming ending. Recommended for all readers Middle Grade and older.