Courtesy Photo

‘Circus of the Queens’ Is a Sweet, Satisfying Tale

Audrey Berger Welz Writes of a Woman’s Determination

In Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate, Audrey Berger Welz covers a tremendous amount of ground, from St. Petersburg in Czarist Russia to a farm in Savannah, Georgia, and many places in between. Welz’s protagonist is Donatalia Petrovskaya, a product of the Russian aristocracy and an aspiring ballerina whose life is repeatedly sundered by events but who, by dint of her own fortitude, intuition, and pluck — and a measure of good fortune reminiscent of Dickens — always manages to land on her feet.

With revolution brewing in Russia and violence spreading, Donatalia’s father sends his daughter to America to continue her ballet studies. On the ocean voyage to New York, Donatalia suffers a freak accident and breaks her leg, effectively ending her dream of becoming a ballerina. Alone in a strange country, she is befriended by another Russian expatriate and winds up on a large plantation in Savannah, but only for a short time, as soon after her arrival in the South she reconnects with old family friend Vladimir Vronsky, a high-wire artist in a traveling circus that bears his name. Not only does Vladimir find a place in the circus for Donatalia, as a fortune-teller, but for many years to come he will be her only living connection to Russia.

Donatalia is a strong, resilient character who approaches life with an admirable openness. She becomes a fixture not only in the Vronsky circus but also in the lives of Vladimir’s wife, four daughters, and a host of other characters with whom she shares numerous adventures. Circus of the Queens is a sweet, satisfying tale of one woman’s determination, heart, and love.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

You Solve It,’ City Tells County on Library Money Shortage

To avoid financial shortfall, city sends ball back to county's court.

Vigil for Victims in Palestine Held at Courthouse

Community gathers to protest injustice.

Stoker to Be Sworn into EPA Job

Former Santa Barbara County supervisor confirms his appointment as regional head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Live Stream of Channel Island Falcons Makes History

Webcam follows wild peregrine falcon family on the Channel Islands.

Sonos Informs Employees of Potential Layoffs

'Restructuring' could affect 96; how many in Santa Barbara unknown.