Reviews 

Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno

“This novel is a spellbinding page-turner whose protagonist, full of bravado and self-assuredness, lures the reader into confronting some of life’s most difficult questions.”—New York Journal of Books

 

“Ellen Bryson brilliantly handles the mystery, melancholia and atmosphere of a strange and difficult world... Well plotted, honest and vibrant, this is a riotous and moving carnival of a novel.”—BookTrust GB

 

“Ellen Bryson's debut novel is rich in both pathos and humour. It's … engaging colorful, and a convincing evocation of the ferment of American society after the Civil War.”—Independent on Sunday (The Main)

 

“The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a moving novel about human appetites and longings. With pitch-perfect prose, Ellen Bryson explores what it means to be profoundly unique—and how the power of love can transcend even the greatest divisions.”—Book Hounds

 

“Debut novelist Bryson imagines [America at the end of the Civil War] beautifully in her inspired drama about freaks, showmen and the forces that twist our insides. A rich tapestry of romance, illusory science, criminal trickery and human intrigue. Let the show begin. ”—Kirkus Reviews

 

“This work magically transports the reader back in time to Gilded Age New York. Fans of Water for Elephants are sure to want to enter this wondrous midway attraction of a novel.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“Bryson is a natural storyteller, and the fascinating interpersonal dynamics of her enticing characters keep readers’ interest. . . . A strong first novel—recommended.”—Library Journal

 

“Ellen Bryson has found a doozy of a story to tell, and she tells the hell out of it. Earnest, accurate, entertaining—this book lets us peek into the life of a great circus, and the great circus of life itself.”—Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You and Chang and Eng

 

“Ellen Bryson’s The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is an atmospheric and enthralling story of one of the great, lost legends of New York.”—Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row and Dreamland

 

“The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno brings alive the curious world of P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in 19th century New York, transforming in the process the freaks and prodigies into heart-breaking people.  Bryson is bedazzling, a real writer of extraordinary bravado.”—Keith Donohue, author of Angels of Destruction and The Stolen Child

 

“Ellen Bryson is a truly gifted storyteller whose debut novel transports the reader through time and into history itself, into characters with strange bodies but all-too-human hearts.”—Cathy Day, author of The Circus in Winter