From the author of The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets and The Borden Murders comes the absorbing and compulsively readable story of Violet and Daisy Hilton, conjoined twins who were the sensation of the US sideshow circuits in the 1920s and 1930s.
On February 5, 1908, Kate Skinner, a 21-year-old unmarried barmaid in Brighton, England, gave birth to twin girls. They each had ten fingers and ten toes, but were joined back to back at the base of the spine. Freaks, monsters--that's what they were called. Mary Hilton, Kate's employer and midwife, adopted Violet and Daisy and promptly began displaying the babies as "Brighton's United Twins." Exhibitions at street fairs, carnivals, and wax museums across England and Scotland followed. At 8 years old, the girls came to the United States, eventually becoming the stars of sideshow, vaudeville, and burlesque circuits in the 1920s and 1930s. In a story loaded with questions about identity and exploitation, Sarah Miller delivers a completely compelling, empathetic portrait of two sisters whose physical bond was the cause of their greatest misfortunes--yet that bond was so sacred Violet forfeited her life to Daisy in the end, rather than break it.
About the Author
SARAH MILLER is the author of The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets, which received four starred reviews, and The Borden Murders, a School Library Journal Best Book and an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. She is also the author of two historical fiction novels for young adults, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller and The Lost Crown, about the Romanovs, both ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. In addition to her work for young readers, she is the author of the USA Today-bestselling Caroline: Little House, Revisited, which was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, among other accolades. Visit her on the web at sarahmillerbooks.com or on Facebook at @SarahMillerwritesbooks.
Praise for The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets:
"Throughout, Miller avoids a sensational tone, and her fresh and detailed reconstruction of this famous story is riveting -- part tabloid story, part poignant biography." --The New York Times Book Review
"[A] thorough, fascinating deep dive into the lives of five girls who captured the attention of millions" --Booklist, Starred Review
"Miller demonstrates herself once again to be a dab hand at examining a historic media frenzy and analyzing the legacy of its lore, leaving trails of ill-informed opinion and blame that lingers into the present." --Bulletin, Starred Review
"Fascinating and well-told. Miller negotiates the multiple viewpoints with a clear eye and extensive research." --Voya, Starred Review
"International media darlings during the Great Depression, the Dionne sisters are virtually unknown to today's young people, but Miller's intense focus on what the girls were going through makes their story timeless." --Horn Book, Starred Review