The Scarlet Circus
The Jane Yolen Circus Collection
by Jane Yolen
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Pub Date 14 Feb 2023 | Archive Date Not set
The Scarlet Circus, the fourth volume in Yolen’s award-winning short fiction series brings you passionate treasures and unexpected transformations. This bewitching assemblage, with an original introduction from Brandon Sanderson, is an ideal read for anyone who appreciates witty, compelling, and classic romantic fantasy.
“The Scarlet Circus is a magical collection of love stories, where love is often an act of courage and intelligence. Jane Yolen has a true storyteller's voice.”
—Anne Bishop, New York Times bestselling author of the Black Jewels series
A rakish fairy meets the real Juliet behind Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. A jewelry artist travels to the past to meet a successful silver-smith. The addled crew of a ship at sea discovers a mysterious merman. More than one ignored princess finds her match in the most unlikely men.
From ecstasy to tragedy, with love blossoming shyly, love at first sight, and even love borne of practical necessity—beloved fantasist Jane Yolen’s newest collection celebrates romance in all its glory.
A Note From the Publisher
Library Journal Top Titles Forecast for Early 2023
Foreword "Passion Pursuit" Featured Title
"As skillful as The Emerald Circus (2017), thematically warmer than The Midnight Circus (2020), this volume’s central thread is love. Featuring an introduction by Brandon Sanderson, it collects more of Yolen’s reimagined narratives, many of them previously published. But fairy-tale endings are not guaranteed: Characters choose badly, and death and other sadness enters in. Julie appears from her grave, mourning Roman, in a wry rewrite of Romeo and Juliet narrated by an elf. Several tales are about the power—for good or ill—of belief; merfolk, djinn, and ghosts play major roles. There is time travel and some real history as well as appearances by Merlin and Arthur, Alice Liddell, and many brave and independent young women. The rich and varied plots and tones are matched by advanced but suitable vocabulary—fortuitously, lambent, incorporeal, slatterns, sepulchral, and legerdemain, for example—much of which young readers will be able to decipher from the context. Occasional poems are interspersed among the stories. The fully realized details bring to life both this-worldly and otherworldly settings. Yolen enthusiasts will be rapt, and new fans will be won. Endlessly imaginative, superbly crafted tales that stir the heart.”
“For this whimsical collection, World Fantasy Award winner Yolen (The Midnight Circus) brings together 11 fantastical shorts centered on romantic love. Yolen’s trademark fairy tale styling is on display throughout, with vivid, pithy prose animating each quirky flight of fancy.”
“The Scarlet Circus is a magnificent and beautiful anthology from a master storyteller! Jane Yolen's stories and poems reach directly into your heart and fill you with the loveliest kind of magic. I absolutely adored it!”
—Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of The Queens of Renthia series
“All these years, and Jane Yolen still reduces me to helpless, gibbering admiration. I'll read anything with her name on it, even if it's just a damn grocery list!”
—Peter S. Beagle, author of In Calabria
“In the fairy tales and poems of Jane Yolen’s The Scarlet Circus, there are curious permutations of haunting, mesmerizing love stories. . . It’s in these splendid spaces between the book’s winking tributes to sentimentality and its swerving surprises that an unabashed sense of romance lingers.”
“Jane Yolen is a national treasure. Cozy up, and let the master take you beyond the fields you know.”
—Sherwood Smith, author of Crown Duel
“Jane Yolen spins captivating tales of whimsy, romance, brave knights, dragons, and twist endings. It was like reading the Grimm's fairy tales as a kid—it has that same timeless feel. I was immersed in every story.”
—Heather Wallwork, author of Entwined
“Jane Yolen is not only one of the best writers I know of, she's also consistently excellent. A Grand Master, old-school style!”
—Mercedes Lackey, author of the Valdemar series
“The Scarlet Circus is a magical collection of love stories, where love is often an act of courage and intelligence. Jane Yolen has a true storyteller's voice—a voice that makes the writing disappear so that only the stories remain.”
—Anne Bishop, New York Times bestselling author of the Black Jewels series
“The Scarlet Circus is a charming bouquet of love stories from a heady array of fantastical viewpoints. Here be magic, and romance.”
—Susan Palwick, author of All Worlds Are Real and Flying in Place
Praise for the volumes of the Jane Yolen Circus Collection series
“Look this way, look that; blazing her consummate imagination against the shadows of human sorrow, Jane Yolen has done it again.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
“Jane Yolen is, simply, a legend. The powerful fairy godmother of every writer working in mythic fantasy today. In these dark and wonderful stories, that legend proves itself true over and over again, a sure hand pulling aside black and gauzy curtains to reveal a blaze of genius that will light up all the secret places of your heart.”
—Catherynne M. Valente, author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own
“A modern master.”
“[S]ings with magic, darkness, and wonder—perfect for anyone who has ever loved a fairy tale.”
—Meagan Spooner, author of Hunted
“An engrossing collection that will linger in readers’ minds long after reading, and a perfect (re)introduction to Yolen’s rich well of fantasy horror. For fans of Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, and Leigh Bardugo.”
—School Library Journal
[STARRED REVIEW] “These delightful retellings of favorite stories will captivate newcomers and fans of Yolen as she once again delivers the magic, humor, and lovely prose that has attracted readers for years.”
“Jane Yolen at her best, telling stories you’ve never seen before but have known all your life, and stories as familiar as your left hand that you barely recognize, spun from shadows and moonlight and breathed through silvered glass.”
—Patricia C. Wrede, author of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles
“A master storyteller at her best.”
—Chanda Hahn, bestselling author of Reign
“Yolen takes well-known fairy tales and splits them apart, sometimes leaving them still quite familiar and other times shining a light from an unfamiliar angle to reveal new truths and possibilities”
—Margo Kelly, author of Unlocked
5/5 stars. “This isn't your typical romance novel though. That romance has a broad definition and doesn't always have a happy ending. In fact, some of the stories are quite dark. I really like it when Jane Yolen takes a story you think you know and turns it on its head.”
—The Neverending TBR List
Advertising and co-op in national print, online outlets, and social media
Promotion at major trade and genre conventions, including BEA, Readercon, the International Convention for the Fantastic in the Arts, and the World Fantasy Convention
Features, interviews, and reviews targeting venues including the Washington Post, NPR, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle
Author tour dates in New England, Scotland, and national TBD
Planned galley distribution and book giveaways to include NetGalley, Goodreads, Edelweiss, Tor.com, and additional online outlets
Average rating from 19 members
this was a great collection of short fiction stories, I had a great time reading each story and thought that all stories were really well done. My favorite story was Peter in Wonderland and A Ghost of an Affair, those two were the strongest to me but I really did enjoy each story. Jane Yolen has a beautiful writing style that I enjoyed going through.
"Most ghost stories begin or end with a ghost. Not this one. This begins and ends with a love affair. That one of the partners was a ghost has little to do with things, except for a complication or two."
eARC received from NetGalley for unbiased review, given voluntarily.
What an absolute pleasure to read!
I've only been tangentially familiar with Jane Yolen's work prior to reading this, so imagine my utter surprise and delight to stumble across this gem of a collection, and this gem of an author!
The writing is lyrical and lush, the pacing reminiscent of the fairy-tales of old. My particular favorite is the retelling of Romeo and Juliet from Dusty the Fae's sister's point of view. The slow realization of what story it is, the perspective shift, the final ending of "Julie" becoming Shakespeare's muse for his "dark lady" -- all of it is nothing short of delightful.
I found in this the love of stories that I developed as a child, the unconditional sense of wonder and hunger for magic and a little bit of toe-tingling terror (for all fairy-tales are a little terrifying, if they're done right).
I can't wait for to read Yolen's previous 2 collections and dig into her other works!
Full Disclosure: I received an advanced reader's copy of the Scarlet Circus by Jane Yolen from Tachyon Publications via NetGalley.
The Scarlet Circus is a collection of "romance" short stories written by Jane Yolen throughout the years. You may have read some of them elsewhere. All of the stories have some element of fantasy to them. This isn't your typical romance novel though. That romance has a broad definition and doesn't always have a happy ending. In fact, some of the stories are quite dark. I really like it when Jane Yolen takes a story you think you know and turns it on its head. Those tend to be my favorites.
Bonus points to Jane for finding love again much later in life after being widowed. There's some romance for you! Although, if her story is one to follow, I better start looking back where I started instead of seeing if there is anything new out there.
This was an absolute jewel of short stories, captivating exactly what Yolen always does in her books and poems. Absolute wonder, mystery and just a touch of romance. This was an excellent read as Yolen always delivers and I look forward to her next books as I always do.
Jane Yolen is a dreamer of dreams and a weaver of tales. She’s been doing this for over 50 years as a writer, poet, and editor, and The Scarlet Circus demonstrates that gamut of experience through the frame of love. This collection will, simply put, enchant you.
Each story in this collection—the earliest of which was written in 1975!—looks at some aspect of love. That love can be wistful or valiant or silly or sad, but in Yolen’s hands every story lands with impact. She frames the stories with poems she wrote with her poem-a-day project during the pandemic. What emerges is a rich portrait of an emotion that is an intrinsic part of us all.
There isn’t a weak story in the bunch, but I loved the wise and ironic Sans Soleil as well as Yolen’s very distinctive take on Romeo and Juliet. Dragonfield is a marvelous examination of heroism, while Peter in Wonderland is a glorious return to all things Lewis Carroll. Yolen even has a medieval romance and time-travel romance with a twist all its own in this rich collection.
Yolen is an alchemist who twists everyday words into something magical. And love is something to enjoy experiencing in our reading. Yolen’s takes on it in this collection are magnificent. Pick The Scarlet Circus up, and prepare to be seduced, mesmerized, and enthralled.
Thanks to Netgalley and Tachyon Publications for the advance reader's copy!
One of the many great tragedies of adulthood is that no one tells you fairy tales anymore. But then there’s Jane Yolen who does just that. Who has been doing just that for the many decades of her spectacularly prolific career. As this collection so marvelously demonstrates.
I’ve read the previous collection Midnight Circus by Yolen before, so I knew what to expect and sure enough, this was a delight in every way.
If one had to categorize it, something like romantic fantasy might suffice. Not to say these are all love stories, but they are about love, as all fairy tales in a way are.
I can sing Yolen’s praises and use all sorts of excited superlatives…or I can just say that some people have the gift of natural storytelling and this author is one of them. He weaves her fairy tale gold just as expertly as any of the classic masters and leaves you just as warm and happy reading them.
These stories are charming, lovely, things of beauty. Don’t care for poetry in the footnotes so much but that’s neither here nor there. The main attraction is utter delight, pure reading pleasure. For you, for your neglected inner child. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
A delightful group of short stories about whimsical to dark fantasy romances.
This is the second book of short stories by this author I have read & reviewed. The first: How to fracture a fairy tale which while charming was nowhere near as appealing to me or good as this set of tales. Favorites would be the Merman & the ghost jeweler. I did notice as this was a pre pub that some of the poem stories were missing, this was disappointing. The Girl Speaks to the Mage is me.
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