Hello dear reader and welcome back! Arya here to talk about my most recent read. Belle had a busy week at school and since I finished this book really early in the week, I figured I could go over my thoughts on it. I am going to be talking about my most recent read entitled The Ladies of the Secret Circus which was written by Constance Sayers. I’ll start this post off by talking about my general thoughts before I give a synopsis of the book and some spoilers. As I have done before, I will give a fair warning before I get into spoiler territory.
A non-spoiler synopsis would be that this book is about a girl named Lara whose fiancée disappears the day of their wedding. Lara and her mother do have some magical powers. After she has processed some of her grief and is trying to move on with her life, her mother grieves her a portrait of her great great grandmother. She decides to try to learn more about her family’s history and stumbles on a world that is far different from what one would consider normal.
Overall I thought this book was a fun read. I had been craving reading a book about a circus and as much as I love The Night Circus, I wanted to read something new. I was able to guess where the story was going some of the time, but the best way I describe this book is that it was a wild ride. Even though at first some of the directions this book went in were surprising to me at first,
If this synopsis and mini-review sound interesting to you and you want to check it out, then I would suggest you come back later to finish reading this post after you have read the book. I am going to get into spoiler territory and I’m going to pick apart the story so you have been warned.
This book starts off more as a mystery than a book about a magic circus. With the disappearance of Todd who is Lara’s fiancée, how everyone in town thinks that he was murdered or just stood her up, to the secret music track that Lara finds when she plays a certain record backward; the mystery element is really played up here. She then starts going into her family history and talking about how her great great grandmother was a good seamstress and an excellent horse-woman who started a circus after coming into some money. This made my reader's senses tingle but I kept on. She talks about how her grandmother started raving about seeing a man and honestly I was getting demon/devil vibes just from how some things were described. Any time Lara’s mom is mentioned, they normally point out that she doesn’t like to use her magic. Lara also starts to see a mysterious man who has eyes that look like a goat (turns out I was correct in the demon vibes I was getting) and he keeps alluding to the fact that he has information that Lara may find interesting.
This brings us to the part about the painting of her great-great-grandmother (her name is Cecile) as well as Lara finding Cecile’s journals. So during this part of the book, you get a lot of information about the circus to which Cecile belonged. There is a lot of magic and the way things are described, I originally thought that it was a ghost circus because they make a big deal about how only the living can leave. However, the book does mention demons so I figured that may have something to do with it. Turns out Lara’s great great great grandfather is a demon overloader and Cecile is a half-demon/half-human. This is why there is so much magic mentioned in the book. This is also why Lara and her mother can work magic so easily. The book later goes on to explain that Cecile has a sister. They were conjoined twins but their father separated them. He was able to cast an illusion on them to make sure that they look more human-like, but in order to keep up the illusion, the sister must kill someone. The circus was essentially a babysitting service for the girls. When Lara actually goes to visit the circus, it became a lot more grotesque and you can get the sense of how this is a circus from Hell. Cecile ends up falling in love with a painter that her sister was also enchanted into loving him. Cecile’s sister ends up killing the painter in a fit of rage but Cecile is already pregnant. This leads to why Lara’s fiancee disappeared. He was killed by Cecile’s sister.
Now I am skipping around a lot but as I’m typing this, I realize that putting what happens into words doesn’t really do the book justice and it is kinda crazy to write it all out. I won’t spoil too much more but needless to say, the book gets even crazier than what I have already told you about. This does lead me though to the fact that once I had gained my footing I was able to guess some of the twists. For example, I was able to guess who Lara’s father was and I was able to guess the identity of Cecile’s sister. However, I don’t count this as a bad thing. Honestly, sometimes you need a book that gives you the pieces and you can easily put them together. That is what this book did for me. Would I recommend this book? If you are in the mood for a wild ride and like books that have a circus mentioned and are set at the circus at some points, then yes I would. If you don’t like books that mention demons or betrayal or can be a little bit on the macabre side at times then no I would not recommend this book for you.
Thanks for tuning in dear reader and I hope you have enjoyed it. Tune in next week for our next post.