Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers


I enjoyed this author's other book, A WITCH IN TIME, so much that I was really excited when I found out I could get a copy of her new release, THE LADIES OF THE SECRET CIRCUS. AWIT is more of a straightforward romance, similar to THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE or A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, but I would say that TLOTSC is more of a mystery/drama with some romantic elements, kind of like WATER FOR ELEPHANTS or THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

In TLOTSC, there are two timelines. There's the story of Lara, whose tale begins when her fiance mysteriously disappears on the day of their wedding. As it turns out, he disappears on a day when lots of other people have disappeared, too. Lara also has supernatural abilities and family ties to a mysterious circus. As it turns out, the three things might be connected, all circling back to two sisters and a sinister man.

The second timeline is about one of the sisters, narrated in a series of journals. These were few and far between, which made me sad because, to me, it made up the creepiest and most interesting part of the book. I don't always like stories about circuses because I think they can be too twee, but this one was really creepy and kind of awful. It gave this story fun Gothic vibes and I'd definitely recommend it if you like circus stories.

Personally, TLOTSC took me a while to get into. Then by the time I got to the middle, I didn't want to put it down. At the ending, it started to drag a little and got kind of strange. This is one of those books that feels very idea-heavy, like the author got a really cool idea but wasn't sure how to finish the story and just threw something together. I wasn't all that keen on the ending, but I really enjoyed the build-up and the characters were decent. I just think that A WITCH IN TIME is the stronger of the two books.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

3.5 out of 5 stars

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