20 Books for Christmas Book Eight Review – The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Title: The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Author: Constance Sayers

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Magical Realism

Goodreads Rating: 3.83

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Source: ARC


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 tame magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. But each daring feat has a cost. Bound to her family’s strange and magical circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows-until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate love affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2005: Lara Barnes is on top of the world-until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. Desperate, her search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals and sweeps her into the story of a dark circus and a generational curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations.

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 Review:

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for approving me for an ARC of this brilliant book. I read A Witch In Time in October and loved it so couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Luckily a few of my friends from my book group also had this one so we did a buddy read.

I immediately got sucked into Lara’s story and desperately wanted to know what had happened to all these men that had disappeared over time. Once she found Celeste diary I couldn’t put the book down! I found Lara’s relationship with Audrey very interesting and loved how it developed throughout the story, the final chapters had me welling up. As a main character I admired Lara’s determination to discover the truth and stare into the face of danger. To say she was brave would be an understatement.

Cecile and Esme’s story was fascinating. I loved the setting and was horrified but also captivated by the circus. Everything was described so beautifully that I could picture the show, the scenery and everything in between. Learning more about Althacazur was a pleasant surprise as well. We briefly met him in the ‘A Witch in Time’ so having him in this book as a main character provided clarity about him. Whilst he was without a doubt very evil, conniving and murderous I also found his sarcasm and wit very funny. I enjoyed reading Cecile’s diary entries and learning about her life in the circus and Esme was another character that I had a lot of sympathy for. Once you learnt her backstory you could see how much she had shouldered for her sister and why she had turned out the way she had.

Constance Sayer has only fed my obsession with circus books and witchcraft further. This was a beautifully written, captivating story that utterly terrified me at times. I am eagerly awaiting her next book and adding her to my auto buy author list.


2 thoughts on “20 Books for Christmas Book Eight Review – The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Add yours

  1. Wonderful review Lucy. I had seen this one and wondered what you would think. I know that the behind the scenes in circuses was not what everyone thought and I think I want to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

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