This story takes place in 1914. Rose and Pierrot are the children of poor, unwed teenagers and both end up at the same orphanage when they’re abandoned by their mothers. There’s a strong bond between these two children as they face their loveless days with the nuns. The nuns are determined to keep Rose and Pierrot apart and to thwart their love and happiness in any way they can. But this is a love that can’t be beat down, even when Pierrot is sent to live with a wealthy man and Rose is sent to work as a governess.
Rose and Pierrot are very imaginative characters and their journey through life is written much like a fairy tale, with dancing bears and magic at every turn. But it’s a truly tragic story, filled with child rape, child abuse, animal abuse, drugs, prostitution, etc., etc., etc. It’s very profane, blunt and sexually graphic, which I felt was done in a way that seemed to be specifically for shock effect, though I’ve read where others have thought it lyrical. The writing consists of far too many metaphors, though some of the metaphors are quite beautiful. On one hand, the book can be seen as a story of two entrancing characters trying their best to struggle through a depraved world. On the other hand, it’s just a perverted, tragic mess, with one atrocity following another. I just wanted the book to be over so I could escape the horrendous world created by the author.
Sorry, but I can’t recommend this one. I was caught up in the comparison to “The Night Circus” but this is a much different type of book. This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.