• Orphans of the Carnival

  • By: Carol Birch
  • Narrated by: Helen Johns
  • Length: 14 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-09-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (23 ratings)


A life in the spotlight will keep anyone hidden.
Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across 19th-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor's ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast to be hidden from children and pregnant women.
But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in modern-day South London? In this haunting tale of identity, love and independence, these two lives will connect in unforgettable ways.
©2016 Carol Birch (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
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Critic reviews

"Orphans of the Carnival is a rich and wonderful book. Carol Birch can see a world in a grain of sand - and then furnish it for you, vividly and unforgettably." (M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts)
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Regular price: £18.99

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By jaffareadstoo on 07-10-16

A remarkable novel..

I listened to this story over 14 hours, which is the length of the unabridged version on Audible, I agree that’s a remarkable length of time but, it must be said, I was never bored, and in fact, I eagerly looked forward to my listening periods, when in the company of narrator, Helen Johns, I entered Julia’s world. The narrator really gives this story an added dimension, her story telling skills are very good, and her ability to give each character their unique voice ensured that they all came truly alive. However, it was her interpretation of Julia which will stay with me for a very long time. She captured the horror and the degradation and the downright eccentricity of Julia’s world to perfection. I appreciate that the power of this remarkable story is largely down to the words that the author has so competently written, but for me, this narrator really gave the book its heart and soul.

Orphans of the Carnival is a remarkable novel and is definitely a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 22-07-17

Good insight into attitudes of the period

The main story line was fascinating, especially as I know now that it was based on historical events, but the secondary (modern) plot line was irrelevant and annoying, with an awkward tie-up at the end. The narrator was great, with so many different accents that it was easy to follow who was talking

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