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A Balancing Act -- Ilona Fridl

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A Balancing Act

Lenora LaRue, Bareback Rider Extraordinaire, is the star of her family ’s circus—until a cyclone hits. A main tent pole falls on her during the storm, and when her injuries require the loss of her leg, her family abandons her, believing she is of no further use to them.

John Mallory, the young surgeon who does the necessary operation, decides to help her readjust to the real world, against his father's advice. John takes her to his aunt’s sanitarium in the resort city of Waukesha, Wisconsin, where the two of them undertake to teach Lenora how to live outside the harsh circus culture that has been her whole life. He sets up a practice in the town to be near her, positive that rehabilitation is possible.As a woman doubly cursed by society as both a cripple and a former circus performer, Lenora is not so sure. She struggles to learn social skills…but can she learn what love is, too?

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reviews

This was a good story relating how Lenora/Nora grows after being raised in the circus and knowing no other life. She must now learn how to survive on her own on the outside and learn the ways of regular people. I liked the way the author gives us a glimpse into a pampered life versus having to live with being a "cripple" in a world where circus people are looked down on and making a better life for herself while learning to trust.
Netgalley, Paula B

excerpt

Mallory absently ran his fingers through his hair. “You asked what happened.” He paused. “Miss La Rue, from what I was told, you were found under the tent with your leg trapped under a horse and a tent post. Apparently, in it's death struggles, the horse ground your leg into the wooden blocks of the ring.”

Nora’s throat constricted and tears filled her eyes. “King is dead?” She gripped the nurse’s hand.

He nodded. “That’s what I was told.” He took a deep breath. “Your leg was severely shattered. We had to remove it above the knee.”

What he told her went through her ears, but her mind rejected it. What seemed like an eternity passed before she realized what he said. Shaking, she sat partway up, lifted the sheet and looked down at the bandaged stump that was once her right leg. “No! Oh, please, no! It can’t be gone! Put it back! Put it back!” A wail came from her throat like it had been sent from the bowels of hell.