#bookreview The Ladies of the secret Circus by Constance Sayers


The surest way to get a ticket to Le Cirque Secret is to wish for it . . .

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder – a world where women weave illusions, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. Bound to her family’s circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2004: Lara Barnes is on top of the world, but when her fiancé disappears on their wedding day every plan she has for the future comes crashing down. Desperate, Lara’s search for answers unexpectedly lead to her great-grandmother’s journals.

Swept into a story of a dark circus and ill-fated love, secrets about Lara’s family history come to light and reveal a curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations. A curse that might be tied to her fiancé’s mysterious fate . . .

My reading experience:

Two intrigues running concurrently and in some way conjoined. One a mystery – that of the missing fiancé Todd, and the other mysterious – Le Cirque Secret. The common denominator is Lara. Her family quietly magical, her great-grandmother Cecile Cabot a star of the Circus in 1925, and engaged to be married to Todd. And then on her wedding day, instead of waiting for her at the top of the aisle, Todd’s car was found abandoned at a notorious spot with no sign of him to pick up a trail from.

As long as you are open to the magical, especially the daemonic, this book is a special gift. The draw of 1920s Paris is too compelling. By the time the reader reaches the Circus, they are prepared for all chaos and trickery to be there. From Cecile’s journals the reader knows of the performers, their uncanny abilities and spectacle, but when Lara gets a ticket, the Circus becomes the Eighth Layer of Hell.

As the story returns from Paris to Kerrigan Falls there are unexpected twists and turns that keep the spark of interest.

Sayers manages to capture illusion and hallucination in a beautiful way, engendering anticipation, anxiety and fear – that feeling of being ever so slightly out of control in the events around swirling around you.

I highly recommend this book and more by the author.


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