‘Kathleen Cremonesi knew early on she wanted to be different and left home in her early 20s to travel across Europe. On a whim, she took a job in a circus and became an ostrich-riding, shark-taming showgirl. Kathleen bonds with animals that could strike and kill at any moment, but instead bring her peace. When she stumbles into the arms of Stefano, the sexy elephant keeper, she finds a man who understands her wild spirit. With thrilling prose, Kathleen takes the reader around Europe, where she discovers unexpected friends and learns how love across language and cultural barriers.’
I was lucky enough to be contacted by the ECW Press team to see if I want to be a part of this blog tour, and my answer was definitely a yes! This will be a four part post with an excerpt, review, blog tour stops, and giveaway!
College in California saved me from small-town Oregon, but school sufficed only until I discovered Grateful Dead-style emancipation. Hopscotching across the States in my Volkswagen bus, I followed the music, followed the fun. The kaleidoscope of the Dead was as much about becoming one with the music and one with each other as it was about being different from everyone else. Tour after tour, we traveled thousands of mils by bus, car, plane, or thumb until we reached the next concert and let out one big home-again sigh. Home, where everything we needed – meals, tickets, to the show, customers to purchase our goods – seemed to be ready and waiting, and a few hours of selling my hand-woven beaded jewelry usually provided enough for me to live on and travel. Within days, we’d be back on the road, like some psychedelic gumball rally, prodding our jalopies toward the next town.
Seeing the same faces over and over around the country built a sense of community that drew me into the Grateful Dead experience; it is also what pushed me away. After eighteen months, tie-dye dreadlocks and glow-in-the-dark leggings became predictable and ordinary, satiated became saturated, marvelous became monotonous. I had to move on. So I traded my fringed leather vest and paisley silk gauchos for a button-down blouse and navy linen skirt to earn travelling money working at a bank. These weren’t blind costume changes. I was running as if my future depended on it. Underneath that button-down blouse, I was giddy. Intoxicated with possibility, intoxicated with life. And then, in the fall of 1988, I loaded my backpack, bought an open-ended plane ticket to Amsterdam, and lit out in search of destiny and a damn good time.
This is definitely a good read. It depicts the trial and tribulations of having a romance while trying to live such a nomadic lifestyle. Her love of animals and life are clear, and are spurred on my her lover and partner, Stefano.
I expected this to focus more on the adventurous side of things, and yet the adventure was woven into the tale of a wonderful, if slightly complicated, romance. I particularly enjoyed how the American and Italian cultures were shown in their Kathleen and Stefano’s relationship, and, which it did cause some issues, how they overcame it through careful compromise and pure understanding made me realise how wonderful this couple is together.
I found it hard to believe that this was a real story at all as it would make a perfectly interesting fiction book. The only way I truly believed this was indeed a memoir was through the wonderful pictures the book contained.
This has a solid 4 out of 5 from me, and I definitely do recommend it.
I have one copy of this book to giveaway, and it’s really simple to enter. All you have to do is leave a comment down below and, at 5PM British Summer Time on June 21st I will put the number of comments in a random number generator and count down until I get to the lucky winner.
I will announce the winner later that day in a quick post.
BLOG TOUR STOPS
I just wanted to add that a portion of the author’s revenue from the books sales of Love in the Elephant Tent will be donated to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand – where Kathleen Cremonesi has volunteered – and the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
If you are indeed interested in helping these wonderful creatures you can find ways to donate by visiting KathleenCremonesi.com