The Shimmering circus

A Historical Fantasy Series

Hand Illustrated

Perfect for fans of the Night Circus, Caraval and Miss Peregrine.Featuring illustrations in the style of vintage circus art, The Shimmering Circus series throws readers into a macabre world of secrets and magic, set against the evocative backdrop of a Gilded Age circus.

Real history

The Shimmering Circus series incorporates a mix of vintage circus and Gilded Age history, as well as fantastical elements.The series incorporates series topics. Click the image to read an in-depth list of trigger warnings.


Annie Dewell is an illustrator, avid armchair historian, and author of The Shimmering Circus series, which details the adventures of a seventeen-year-old Evelyn Earle in a mysterious 1912 circus.

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The circus keeps its secrets.When seventeen-year-old Evelyn is accidentally poisoned, her only hope for an antidote is to sign the curious contract of Hart's Traveling Circus— the same place her brother vanished before her birth.But this is no ordinary circus. As she settles in, Evelyn is consumed by questions no carnie will answer… why do the performers lie about their uncanny performances? What caused the “hideous” scars of Essence, the sideshow freak who draws portraits so vivid they nearly leap from the page?Terrified by tempestuous Manager Hart, she attempts to flee but is stopped by paralyzing pain. Undeterred, she’ll cajole and blackmail her way to the truth behind the circus mysteries and her brother's disappearance— truths that will uncover buried secrets and catapult her into the crossfire of a plot with explosive consequences.


The Shimmering Circus series contains themes of a serious, potentially triggering nature. Most of these are handled offscreen, reflecting on the trauma the subject can cause in a sensitive manner.Onscreen trigger warnings include: violence (light gore), insanity and mental health struggles/trauma.Offscreen trigger warnings include: child disappearances, grooming and teenage/adult predation, suicide attempt, cult participation, domestic violence, self harm.Note from the author: The posters and some statements in the novel reflect historical attitudes towards people with disabilities. As someone who has worked with individuals with disabilities for over a decade, I strove to provide respectful depiction of all diversity in the series.

art and mailing list

All illustrations in the Shimmering Circus series were hand drawn by the author, most using watercolor pencil.To read more about my research process and illustrations, click to read my...