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Secret Lives

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A novel of magical realism about elderly women, younger women, good men, and mythological characters including the Green Man and the Norns gone mad in a modern world.
Paperback, 652 pages
Published September 8th 2011 by Createspace
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Amy Lignor
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
It is a true ‘gift’ when the reading public receives a book with wit, charm, and adventure all wrapped up in a plot that speaks volumes about friendship, the twilight years of your life, the power of women, and the way this world looks at its senior citizens - the most powerful guides on the planet who are being treated unforgivably.

We begin in 4400 BCE in a small community of neighbors and friends. They worship the Goddess who brings them healthy crops, healthy children, and offers them a warm,
Geraldine Charles
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I keep a small shelf of novels I know I’ll want to read again – when I want to be entertained, inspired or sometimes just for comfort when stuck indoors. Among others, on that shelf are Mists of Avalon and Woman on the Edge of Time. Secret Lives is about to join them.

There’s so much to like! Lots of interwoven stories so that you really get to know all the characters. I loved the way that ageing and its issues were dealt with, so seldom does one find this in fiction. Many of our heroines are old
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
While described as a novel, this book is more like a series of vignettes, linked by common characters. In each chapter, the main characters- a group of aging women of magic and power- face a different issue or problem. And they are big issues, issues that face the baby boomer generation more all the time: aging and how it affects both body and mind, illness, homelessness, sexuality, prejudice, death, but most of all, friendship and love. While these women all are witches, their power doesn’t shi ...more
Dawn Thomas
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book begins with a story of a Shaman in Neolithic Old Europe. By the end of the book the reader will understand the importance of this Shaman. The poem, Gimme Back My, lists all the things we wish we had back from our youth.

This story takes place in the 1980s in Long Beach, California. It follows the lives of a Circle of Crones that live in and around a retirement facility named Center Towers. These women had decided to retire their magic until they see the changes happening in the neighborh
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc

This book was shockingly good. The book is huge, 560+ pages, but it is definitely worth reading. The plot centers around female friendship and the elderly, especially how the elderly are treated. The little bit of magic rounds out the plot and leaves the reader feeling a little bit whimsical.

The author begins in 4400 B.C.E. where a small community worships a deity who is supposed to provide for them. The shaman allows for contact between the community and the deity. The shaman delivers a distur
Elizabeth Hazel
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: neo-pagans and Wiccans
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Barbara Ardinger
A long but wonderful story, reminiscent of Starhawk's "Fifth Sacred Thing." There aren't many books out there with the depth or breadth of this book. The central plot revolves around a group of neo-pagan women living in a retirement center, but branches out to encompass the lives of daughters, friends, and others in the community. Their stories are braided together with grace and wit.
Each chapter reads like an episode in a television series. You can read a chapter, put down the book, think abou
Being of the male persuasion I had my doubts as to how much I would relate to and be drawn into a novel about a group of older women who follow Goddess traditions and teachings. After reading Secret Lives I now see that my doubts were wholly unfounded and that Barbara Ardinger has written a marvelous book that is engaging, heartwarming and even instructive if you are open to the spirit in which this novel was written. The grandmothers, the daughters and the granddaughters of this novel are well ...more
Rebecca Cooper
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-group
I got a little over halfway thru this one, and only got that far for the sake of putting in a good effort for my book club. This book suffers from far too many characters, and I was not interested in any of them. The one thing that may have made this book charming (it's realistic portrayal of neopagans and goddess-worshippers) was botched by the inclusion of talking cats and summoning dragons. There were some strengths, which included some actual realistic ritual, strong elderly female character ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book ! I couldn't put it down and was sad when my journey through it ended.
So refreshing to get a peek into the lives and minds of the so seldom honoured Crone.
Kudos to Barbara Ardinger for this !
I hope we get another peek at the lives of these colourful characters.....!!
Dec 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, crap, 2012
There were a few wonderful bits but overall i hated this book
May 28, 2012 added it
Just started it, enjoying it thus far!
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Women who have come of age as crones. And there is still magic in the air.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
One of the best novels about women living a Goddess path I've read!
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