Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet - Peter H. Wood

Wow. I never thought I would say this, but I am pretty sure this is another great book about the plague. Do you think it’s on purpose that my other favorite book on the topic, while wholly different and based on actual events, is called Year of Wonders? Both titles, weirdly, sound much more inviting than their actual topic.


I read a note from the author, and I have to agree that the cover and maybe even the title on this one do seem a little more middle grade than modern adult. I tend to read both genres, so when I picked this one up a while after I requested it, I honestly was not sure. The cover seems so perky for a book about class warfare played out through a plague quarantine. So, no, as my kids used to say, this would not be appropriate for them. Unless of course you don’t mind them reading about the death and mayhem of a plague epidemic running rampant through the carnival sideshow. Other than that, it’s just a tad risqué, but really, given the setting, how could it not be?


In any case, that’s just fine, because you will want to keep this gem all to yourself. There is an amazing cast of characters here, especially heavy on the character. Honestly, I loved them all. The setting itself looms large, offering an abundance of Coney Island trivia and a privileged glimpse of the old sideshow attractions. Wood has crafted a fine sense of community and morality in this strange and curious world. I loved this book.