Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.
As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.
Just then a child in the row behind Ella cried out, “Look, Mama!”
Charlie, dressed in his center ring finery, strode into the arena, as strong and strapping as ever. Face powdered and painted with two jagged teardrops under his eyes, he walked with stoic authority, tall boots forging a fresh trail straight toward his audience. Ella didn’t know a single man could hush a packed house with no words, but…then there was Charlie Lionheart.
Joanne weaves a story that touched my heart on every level. Charlie the Lionheart and Ella are two characters that I won't soon forget. The story is full of hope, faith and sacrifice. Charlie is not only handsome, he is charismatic with jagged edges that makes him the best kind of hero, Ella is gentle, and full of compassion which pairs her matchlessly with Charlie.
Little Holland is a sweet addition to this story, I love when kids are apart of the story, I think they add a lot of fun, and Holland does just that.
While the story has heartache, it is also full hope and faith.
I highly recommend this book!