Review: The Museum of Extraordinary Things (Alice Hoffman)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: ★★★


Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.


Gosh this book, was truly something! I picked it up on a whim and didn’t expect to like it at all.

The story revolves around extraordinary people who are being displayed in a Brooklyn museum. Coralie, the daughter of the museum owner is herself, a wonder. But only wishes to be ordinary and fall in love.

Which is what happened when she met Eddie, an outcast photographer.

I loved the story plot, switching between Eddie’s and Cora’s POV. The story revolves around the search for a missing girl and the gothic atmosphere surrounding this early era of New York in the 20th century.

You feel like you’re living in this era: in all of its disturbing, glorified essence of harsh labour, cruelty, family and escaping your past. I find myself flinching a couple of times at the descriptive scenes. The writing pulls you in and is really beautiful.

Enjoyed reading this, and would definitely recommend this. It reminds me of The Night Circus but is in a whole league of its own 😉


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