Phineas T. Barnum figures prominently in Among the Wonderful
(Steerforth), less ribald than The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb,
but an equally engaging novel from newcomer Stacy Carlson. Here the heroine, Ana Swift, is Mrs. Tom Thumb's opposite—a professional giantess, with her own gripes about life in the spotlight. The great strength of this book is Carlson's evocation of time and place. Who knew 19th-century taxidermy could be so interesting?