Miracle at the Sideshow

Miracle at the Sideshow: An Astounding Novel of the First Infant Incubators

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A deadly fire.

A sensational sideshow.

And a baby fighting for its life.

Sophie Rosenfeld dreams of a resplendent life in America after escaping the pogroms in Eastern Europe, only to lose her family in the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Besides Sophie, the lone survivor is her niece, Mercy, a premature baby the city hospital calls a “weakling” and refuses to save. When it is rumored Mercy’s only hope lies in the dark and dangerous Coney Island freak shows, free-spirited but despairing Sophie takes the chance. Will life in the spotlights lead her to the life she’s always imagined, or will another devastating fire force her to return to the ashes of tenement life forever?


New York City at the turn of the twentieth century is as captivating as it is macabre and as magnificent as it is barbaric, as young Sophie Rosenfeld is about to learn. She yearns for life beyond the dreary tenements, but losing all her family except for her fragile niece, Mercy, in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire has left her with little opportunity. Sophie has to save Mercy’s life, but to do so she must follow a mysterious man to the only place in the world that saves premature babies: Dr. Martin Couney and his Coney Island side show.

Even as society threatens to shut down Dr. Couney’s life-saving work for premature babies, Sophie joins him in fighting for their lives. Amidst the glittering menagerie of lights, astonishing sights, and her new friends, including the handsome acrobat, Nicholas, Sophie begins to find hope.

From the lavish, dangerous shores of Coney Island, to the harsh but at times tender tenement life, Sophie’s heart is split wide open by a roller coaster of unrelenting tragedies. Will Nicholas and her new friends be just the salve Sophie needs to help assuage her grief? Or will she be forced to return to a life that stifled her?

Against a backdrop of romance and unexpected escapades, Miracle at the Sideshow brings to life two back-to-back true stories of fire and injustice that shocked the nation into improving worker safety, and which led to techniques still used in neonatal intensive care units today to save the lives of premature babies.

What people are saying about Miracle at the Sideshow

“Once again, Amy Sorrells takes readers on an emotional ride that engages all the senses and touches every tender place in the heart. With rich characters, captivating settings, and fascinating historical details, Miracle at the Sideshow is a must-read.” 

JULIE CANTRELL, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials 

“Fans of The Greatest Showman, rejoice! Amy K. Sorrells has penned a gritty, authentic, hopeful story that brought forth tears, laughter, and the beautiful reminder that beauty can indeed come from ashes. Amidst the tragic aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Miracle at the Sideshow is a story that reminds readers that miracles can still abound today—by everyday people acting in courage, risking their reputations, standing up for the marginalized, and pushing the boundaries of what might be safe and expected. A story that broke my heart and then stitched it back together. A gorgeous, satisfying read!” 

HEIDI CHIAVAROLI, author of Hope Beyond the Waves 

Miracle at the Sideshow is a magical, marvel-of-a-story about the wonder and value of life. With her signature prose and winsome characters, Amy Sorrells has created another fascinating novel based on real events. This time she takes us straight into the heart of historical New York and those who want to rescue premature babies before they are discarded as weaklings. With the flashy backdrop of Coney Island and blaze of two fatal fires, Sorrells weaves together threads of hope in seemingly impossible places. If you enjoyed The Greatest Showman, you’ll love reading about the grand vision of Dr. Martin Couney and the many miracles at his sideshow.” 

MELANIE DOBSON, award-winning author of Catching the Wind and Memories of Glass

Oh, my goodness. Miracle at the Sideshow by Amy K. Sorrells is an absolute showstopper of a story! Rich in historical detail and beautifully rendered, this enthralling tale will tap into every emotion, impacting readers long after they’ve savored the final pages. I cheered for the “least of these” and wept with joy for the triumphant. This rousing fictional masterpiece, based on fact, is for the dreamers and the doers, the visionaries and the changemakers. Be prepared to dig in – once you begin reading, you won’t want to stop!

CYNTHIA HERRON, award-winning author of Her Hope Discovered (Welcome to Ruby Series)

“I’ve been waiting a long time for a new book from Amy K. Sorrells, and it’s finally here! Inspiring and intriguing, Miracle at the Sideshow delivers a timely message of hope against all odds that your heart will not soon forget. I love stories about triumph rising from the ashes of tragedy, and I love stories based on real-life heroes of American history who fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. This book has it all.” 

KATIE POWNER, author of Where the Blue Sky Begins 

“I thoroughly enjoyed Sophie’s story. A delightful read, with dazzling prose that made me feel right in the center ring of this remarkable story, and one man’s dedication to life.”

SHELLIE RUSHING TOMLINSON, Belle of All Things Southern, author of Rocking It Grand: 18 Ways to Be a Game-Changing Grandma 

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