17-Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Jacob Jankowski is a getting ready to take his final exams for his veterinary degree when his parents are killed in an automobile accident. He is left penniless and is so despondent he cannot take his exams. It's the depression and with nowhere to go, he jumps a train only to discover it's a circus train.

He is hired by the megalomaniac owner to be the circus' vet and to take care of the animals. He meets Marlena, the show's equestrian rider and her schizophrenic, animal trainer, husband, August. Soon after he joins the circus the owner buys Rosie, an elephant who, as it turns out cannot do any tricks.

Marlena is in an abusive and loveless marriage and it isn't long before she and Jacob fall in love. A great story.

© Surveyor of the Passing Scene