Quick read. Finished in a day. I liked the juxtaposition of narratives (Old Jacob and Young Jacob). How convenient though, for the bad guy to be eliminated and the lovers to be united in one stroke (deus ex pachyderm). How convenient, for the hard-hearted ring leader to be disposed of as well. How convenient, to have a neat label for the odd behavior of August. How convenient, that he took up veterinary science in college, and just so happened to stow away on a passing train of a circus that needed a vet!
Still, in a world full of gritty and depressing novels, let them have a happy ending. Enjoy it, and don't think about it too much, because then the veneer peels away and you realize there are many things about this that are absurd.
Escapist. No wonder this is a popular book club choice.