If you are still waiting for Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, rest assured that the wait is well worth it.
In the meantime, there is Renee Dodd's A Cabinet of Wonders. There are many similarities between these two Fabulous Fiction Firsts - they are well researched, engrossing in the storytelling, and chock-full of realistic, behind-the-scenes details of the little known world of circuses and traveling carnival shows.
Set in the Depression, they both paint a vivid portrait, with emotional authenticity, of the lives, dreams and relationships of the performers and personalities, as well as their struggles to stay together for what might very well be, one last season.
Starred Kirkus review praises A Cabinet of Wonders as "...a rare treat: a diverting and insightful piece of quirky fiction".