So, I was struck by the craving for a flourless chocolate cake after watching co-workers devouring one I was allergic to, so I decided to embark on one that was dairy free. And then, Erin Morgenstern informed her fan base (which includes me) that the chocolate mice that feature in her novel The Night Circus can be found at Burdick Chocolates. So, I decided to combine my craving for the two into one baking experiment.
I wanted to have a flourless chocolate cake with white chocolate and raspberry drizzles. It was a challenge to find either vegan white chocolate or cocoa butter to make my own, but Cambridge Naturals came to my rescue with 16 ounces of gorgeous pure cocoa butter. And then no one had any fresh raspberries, so I settled for a wonderful raspberry jam.
Using this cake recipe and this white chocolate recipe, I think i had a raging success. It is delicious, and dense, and totally coma inducing. It is also black, white, and red, as any good nod to the circus should be…
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was quite a fantastical adventure. I don’t want to classify it as fantasy because it feels too real. Too approachable. It felt as though one was truly wandering through a traditional circus, watching the sideshows, and asking yourself if it is really possible for a person to bend themselves in that direction.
Quick plot summary: two magicians (for lack of a better term) who have been competing through the ages are once again pitting their students against each other in an exhibition style competition. This time, the competition arena is a circus, Le Cirque des Rêves (Circus of Dreams), where Celia and Marco must create new attractions and tents, constantly trying to outdo the other. At the same time, we get glimpses into the lives of the magicians, a set of twins born into the circus during it’s premier, the founders and supporters of the circus, and a young boy named Bailey who is a Rêveur or a dreamer who loves and follows the circus.
What the magicians could not have known is that they picked two ideal competitors; they complement and challenge each other so perfectly that they fall in love. The tents that they create in the black and white circus are gifts for each other and they dream about escaping the game and spending the rest of their lives together, but only one can win the competition…
The Night Circus was a beautiful and engaging love story; love of a man and woman, love for the circus, for dreams, for life. Love of imagination and story.
And not once did it get trite or cliche. Since I spend a lot of time looking not only at a story, but at the writing, I must admit I was a trifle worried at times. But I was always pleasantly surprised at the treatment given to aspects that could easily become melodramatic. For instance, there were (I thought) three options to end the game. Either one of them loses or they somehow find a way to break the bonds tying them to the game. When the time came for the game to end, however, my reaction was, “Wait…Oh! Oh that’s good.”
I myself am definitely a Rêveur now; I fell in love with the circus and the people who create and live in it. If you are looking for a wonderfully satisfying fantastical love story, then this is the next book to put on your list.