Here's a description of the book from Waterbrook Multnomah:
“I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud.”
As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.
It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.
When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.
My Rating: Spring/Summer
Creative, clever, and oh-so chuckle-worthy, The Charlatan's Boy is a gift I almost didn't recognize because it came wrapped in a genre I don't usually read and one that's actually rather difficult to define. It's a-bit-of-fantasy meets Mark Twain's Huck Finn, with enough of the unexpected to turn everything on its head!
Grady and Floyd make a rather ingenious pair of hucksters, and this book is packed full of some interesting schemes for winning a crowd and making some good pocket-change in the unusual world of Corenwald. It's fun going back to the beginning to consult the map and follow their journeys across Corenwald. And those journeys are full of the wackiest and most entertaining adventures!
Many of the characters are quirky in a rather lovable way--like Short Fronie, the drovers, and Barbary. What an array of personalities! And the narrator, Grady, won me over with his big, mixed-up heart and his witty observations. Just like Huckleberry Finn, he tells it like it is from the way he sees it, and it's a pleasure to watch him discover just who in this crazy world he is.
With a great narrator, an enjoyable story, and a surprising depth, I recommend The Charlatan's Boy for all those who want an adventure with some laughs and smiles along the way!
*With thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
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