SFF

The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Redhook: Orbit. Mar. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780316493673. $28. FANTASY
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Lara Barnes’s fiancé disappears the morning of their wedding, the “runaway groom” making Lara a figure of pity in her small town. When the police discover that this is just the latest in a string of creepy disappearances, Lara and her family find themselves at the heart of mystery, madness, and obsession, as they learn that the magic they have always hidden has reached out to draw them back in. That is, unless they can find their way back to Paris and the Secret Circus that will either claim them, kill them, or send them straight to hell. Encompassing as many genres as a circus carousel has animals to ride, this is ultimately a story about love. Not just romantic love, although that lies at its heart. Rather, this tale of dark fantasy, obsession, and the Lost Generation turns out to be the story of a father trying to do his best for his daughters. That the father is a prince of hell means that his solution is quite literally on the road paved with good intentions.
VERDICT Highly recommended for lovers of timeslip fiction, readers who enjoy their genres very bent indeed, and those who have dreamed of running away to the circus.

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