Sunday, 15 July 2012

BLOGTOUR: Carnival Girl: Searching For God in the Aftermath of War by Sonja Herbert +Guest Post

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort (12 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159955996X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599559964

The only life little Sonja Francesco has ever known is traveling the carnival circuit and living with her five siblings in a tiny caravan home. The family never stays anywhere long enough for Sonja to make friends or develop roots. The only one in her family, Sonja always believed in God and wants to belong to a church. 

At fourteen, Sonja meets the Mormon missionaries and develops a strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel. But can she live the commandments while traveling with the carnival and running one of the attractions every Sunday? Will it be possible for her to leave her family’s life behind and live the life she has always dreamed of?

This was a very moving book.  I'm so glad that I was offered a chance to read it to be part of the blogtour because it may not have been something I would have ordinarily picked up, but I'm glad I had the chance to because I found it really interesting.
I have a keen interest in history so to read about post World War 2 Germany, and Sonja's experiences in a travelling carnival at the time was intriguing, especially as most books I've read about the post war era are set in Britain, so this was a great change.
This childhood memoir was so well written and flowed nicely.  I felt we really gained insight into her life and her family.  I liked the photos included- I liked knowing whose lives I was reading about.
I found Carnival Inspiring, despite being non-religious myself, I really respected that Sonja strongly believed in God from a young age and never allowed anything to sway her belief even though her family strongly disapproved.
Over all I give Carnival Girl 4/5 stars.  I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir even thought I'm not normally a reader of memoirs so it's a testament to how good it is.  

Guest Post From Sonja Herbert

When I was a little girl, traveling in our small carnival caravan, I often listened to my mother talking about how she used to be a model in Berlin, the greatest city of Europe, and how she had to leave and hire on with the circus in order to stay ahead of the Nazis.

During the few times we carnival children attended school, I once received an A for a story about a Greek myth I had written, and on that day I decided to write about my mother’s life when I grew up.

All through the time I raised my six children here in the U.S.A., this thought was with me, and when the younger ones were a bit older, I started on my mother’s story. As the story unfolded, I realized that it would not be complete unless I also told my own story, the story of my childhood and my life with my mother.
And that’s how Carnival Girl began. I originally called it Conversations with Margot (my mother’s first name), but since the novel I wrote about her life isn’t quite finished yet, I decided to re-name the memoir and publish it first.
As I wrote the memoir and remembered the things that happened in my early life, old feelings returned, and I had to confront the childish assumptions of my younger self. Now, as a grown woman, I am able to see things I had not seen as a little girl, and when my memoir was finished, I had a new insight and understanding for my mother, who had suffered so much and still came out ahead.
My mother, Margot, is now ninety-one years old. She lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is still going strong!
Thank you Mutti, for everything you have taught me!


  1. Thank you so much for your great review! I appreciate it a lot!

    1. You're so welcome :) Thank you for giving me the chance to read it.