Mini 5 Star Book Reviews: The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian & The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Posted December 30, 2013 by Melissa in Book Review | 3 Comments



Title: The Night Strangers
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Age Group:  Adult
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 378
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 4th 2011
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book, Audio
Find it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Source: Publisher


In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.

The home’s new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine – a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village – self-proclaimed herbalists – and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?

The result is a poignant and powerful ghost story with all the hallmarks readers have come to expect from bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian: a palpable sense of place, an unerring sense of the demons that drive us, and characters we care about deeply.

The difference this time? Some of those characters are dead.

My Thoughts

Captivated from page one, I could not put The Night Strangers down.  It’s no secret that small town New England is my favorite setting…Bohjalian does an amazing job of capturing the essence of the town and distilling it into a character of it’s own. That said we also have a plethora of other fascinating personas populating this family and village.   We are slowly drawn in to the story of the Lintons and then the camera lens starts widening to encompass the whole of their small New England town.  All of the characters are so well drawn that we feel as if they are our own neighbors…so well known and any of us really know what goes on behind closed doors???

And then there are the witches…

Incredibly well written, haunting and and quite a bit disturbing, this page turner will keep you up late and you’ll barely regret it the next day.



Title: The Night Circus
Author:  Erin Morgenstern
Age Group:  Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 387
Publication Date:  September 13th 2011
Available Formats: Paperback, E-Book
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Source:  Publisher


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

My Thoughts

Erin Morgenstern paints a picture in black that is so vivid and strong that I can’t but pray to see it developed on the big screen while at the same time worrying that it will never ever manage to live up to the beauty that is The Night Circus. Amazingly complex…this novel spans multiple POVs and multiple time frames to tell the story of  Marco, Celia, and the Circus (which is so much more than a setting…it literally takes on a life of it’s own.) I loved the myriad of circus folk and hangers-on that we came to know and appreciate as well as this timeless love story.

The Night Circus itself though wins the show here.  Take a step through those gates, lose track of time and of yourself…smell the sweets and popcorn, hear the barkers call and let the magic wash over you….

Were They Worth My Time?

Sometimes writing reviews for books that you love so much can be the hardest of all.  Both of these are slow paced but full of such amazing imagery and well drawn characters, that you won’t for a moment be bored.  Morgenstern and Bohjalian are both masters of the craft.

5 Timepieces each!

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3 responses to “Mini 5 Star Book Reviews: The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian & The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    • Melissa

      You really need to make time for it:) Easy for me to say though…*whistles while trying to see the end of her TBR pile*

  1. YES! I LOVED The Night Strangers! I need and plan to read more of Bohjalian’s books! I could NOT put TNS’s down either, I loved it SO much. Gah I recommended that book to everyone when I finished it! 😀 So well written – and then yes, the WITCHES!

    I still need to read The Night Circus – smacks self. 😀

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