The Ladies of the Secret Circusby Constance Sayers
Setting: France, United States
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Historical, Fiction / Occult & Supernatural, Fiction / Romance / Historical / 20th Century, Fiction / Women
Published on March 23, 2021
Format: Audiobook Source: Library
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From the author of A Witch in Time comes a magical story spanning from Jazz Age Paris to modern-day America of family secrets, sacrifice, and lost love set against the backdrop of a mysterious circus.
Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder—a world where women weave illusions of magnificent beasts, 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 until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. When her desperate search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals, Lara is swept into a story of a dark circus and ill-fated love.
Soon secrets about Lara’s family history begin to come to light, revealing 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 disappearance
I picked this audiobook while scrolling through the available ones on my library’s app based purely off the title and the cover. I didn’t even fully read the description which was good. I liked going into this knowing nothing whatsoever about what was going on.
I’m a sucker for books that are set in two different timelines. Throw in a mysterious circus and what’s not to love?
This did start out really slowly. I think I was over 3 hours into the audiobook before we got fully introduced to the secret circus. Maybe starting out slowly is the wrong description. The book does start out with a person being attacked but you know what I mean. I was promised a mysterious circus and it wasn’t showing up. Nothing is rushed in this book. It takes quite a while for the various storylines to start to come together. This is a book where you need to be content to settle in and let things happen.
I would describe this as fantasy edging into horror. There is definitely some gore.
There were a few things that annoyed me. I always complain about plot issues that could be resolved if the characters sat down and talked to each other. This had that. Seriously, people. Let’s work on our communication skills. Secondly, Lara describes her fiance Todd as the love of her life. She also freely admits that he has cheated on her several times. Nope. Time to get rid of the whole man.
Other than that though, I did enjoy this story. Some of it you are able to piece together in advance but I promise you there are plot points here that you absolutely will not predict.