|The Language of Silence|
The Language of Silence by Betty Webb
Published August 5, 2014; Gallery Books
Genre: women's fiction
When the time was right, she'd run to the only place she knew where woman could vanish so completely there was nothing left of her except a yellowed newspaper clipping, a gold tiger brooch, and enough conflicting stories to keep three generations guessing.
Book beginning, first chapter: It was the blackbirds that first told Ruth something was wrong. At exactly the stroke of non, they landed in the cornfield and commenced eating her corn as if they'd been the ones to stand in hundred-degree heat and chop the weeds out with a hoe.Publisher description:
Following in the footsteps of her tiger-taming grandmother, a woman flees her abusive husband to join the circus. A poignant portrayal of a woman on the edge seeking solace in the past.
Nobody in the family talks about Ellen’s grandmother, Lola, who was swallowed up by the circus and emerged as a woman who tamed tigers and got away scot-free for killing her husband. When Ellen’s husband, Wayne, beats her nearly to death, she runs to the only place she knows where a woman can completely disappear—the same Big Top that once sheltered her grandmother.
Though the circus moves from one town to the next, Wayne tracks it, and Ellen, relentlessly. At the same time, Ellen learns more about her feisty, fiery relative, and the heritage that is hers for the taking—if she dares. With her violent husband hot on her trail, Ellen must learn to stand up and fight for herself, to break the cycle of abuse, and pass down a story of love and redemption to her children.(amazon)
I don't like circuses as much as I did as a child and probably would not visit one today. But how does the idea of literally "running away to the circus" grab you as an ingenious though desperate attempt to escape domestic abuse?