Book Review: The Book of Speculation

Hello, creepy goodness! This is not a horror book by any means, but it has the perfect amount of New England, circus spookiness…is that a thing? It is now, thanks to Erika Swyler.


She does a masterful job of weaving together two stories. The primary one revolves around Simon, a young librarian who is trying to keep his home from literally falling into the ocean while at the same time, frantically studying the mystery of why women in his family (all circus mermaids) commit suicide at a young age. He is racing against the clock to save his sister from following the same fate. The secondary tale follows a traveling circus in the 1700’s whose eccentric performers have a profound effect on Simon’s family.

The characters in this novel are some of the most vivid, interesting kind that I’ve come across in recent years. It’s an often used cliche among book lovers, but I can’t quit thinking about them even though I finished the book a few days ago. I was engrossed in the setting and eerily fascinated by the tales of the circus…which is saying a lot since before this book I had less than 0% interest in anything to do with a circus.


The Book of Speculation is Swyler’s first novel and I was extremely impressed. I eagerly anticipate her next one and won’t mind at all if there is a menagerie involved…

Review Details

Title: The Book of Speculation

Author: Erika Swyler

Available Here

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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