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The Ladies of the Secret Circus

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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 pa ...more
Kindle Edition, 469 pages
Expected publication: March 23rd 2021 by Redhook (first published March 2021)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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*This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's Copy from NetGalley.

The circus is always an intriguing place. Performers, animals, a tent set up in the middle of nowhere; it's magical. Quite literally for this book.

Lara is all set to marry when her fiance disappears the day of the wedding. Devastated, she tries to get by with her life as normally as possible. Which for her isn't quite normal as her family has secrets; magical secrets. And one of those secrets has made a reappearance, wanting
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and much darker than I anticipated, The Ladies of the Secret Circus kept me captivated until the end.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jennifer Richards
The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers was a beautiful, atmospheric, enrapturing novel that was one of my favorite reads of the year. I loved the story of Lara and her journey to understanding her family, their secrets, and the bewitching secrets of the secret circus. While the story revolves around Lara following the disappearance of her fiancé on their wedding day, it is the inclusion of the other characters that truly makes this book stand out. The secondary characters are extrem ...more
Books and H2O
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an arresting and macabre novel.

The narrative begins when the protagonist’s fiance disappears the day before the wedding. From there, the story unwinds to reveal a furtive circus, generational curse, dark occult, and heartbreaking tragedy.

Although there is a central POV with the protagonist, Lara, it is the auxiliary characters that really shine. Their portrayals are so well-realized that, even through journal entries, one can easily garner a robust sense of the person. Even the villai
The Starry Library
A devastating secret haunts generations of a circus performing family in the latest spellbinding novel from the author of ‘A Witch in Time.’

Sayers weaves a macabre tale involving generations of the Cabot women each with an intimate connection to a peculiar circus that may not be of this world. Enchantments and devilish schemes permeate the lives of each character thinning the veil between illusion and horror. The backdrop of the story features a series of unsolved disappearances that summons the
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous, dark, and atmospheric, this is a magical book to fall into. I was hooked from the prologue and the story just kept getting better and stranger (in the best way possible) the further I read. Reading this book is like falling into a dark fairy tale, complete with trapped princesses, doomed loved, heroes, magic, monsters, and a horrifying villain. The characters were so wonderfully complex and flawed, trapped in the ringmaster's web. Excellent read!

Thank you NetGalley and Redhook Books f
Sue Fernandez
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley and Red Hook books for a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. I have had an affinity for circus books (go figure.) This one though had a dark twist, magical touches and intrigue. It's not a typical book, and that's a good thing. Highly recommend. ...more
Beth ~~Just One More Chapter I Swear~~
This book started off in a totally different direction than what I expected and that worried me. It turns out that I worried for no reason because once I settled into the story, I was hooked.

I am a huge fan of Circus novels... doubly so when they are paranormal or occult in nature. This book was both and more. Not only did it have a magical, demonic circus from Hell... it also had anxiety inducing life or death events, a perilous romp through the streets (and ages) of Paris, familial drama and
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be available on March twenty third.

The Ladies of the Secret Circus is told from a few points of view: there’s Lara, a woman whose fiancé has gone missing; and Ben, the officer who is leading the search for him. There is another character whose story is told through journal entries, but I’m not going to say much about that for fear of spoiling things. The book starts with a simple premise and the b
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Ladies of the Secret Circus is told from a few points of view: there’s Lara, a woman whose fiancé has gone missing; and Ben, the officer who is leading the search for him. There is another character whose story is told through journal entries, but I’m not going to say much about that for fear of spoiling things. The book starts with a simple premise and the beginning of many a mystery novel- until you realize that Lara and her family have magical abilities, and that there may or may not be a ...more
Alisha Carderella
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lara Barnes knows her missing fiancé, Todd, is never coming back, but she won’t rest until she finds out why. When Lara is given her great grandmother’s journal, she discovers her family was part of the highly sought out Secret Circus. While left with more questions than answers, Lara knows the circus is somehow connected to Todd’s disappearance, and it just may have to do with the curse that she learned has a hold on her family. Will she be strong enough to break it?

“To enter The Secret Circus
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to read Sayers's A Witch in Time arc in Jan 2020, and it continued to be a favorite read for the whole year. I was so stoked to see she was already working on another book, and I was even more excited to be approved to read an arc through NetGalley, from Redhook Books, thank you!

Where A Witch in Time was more of a deep, dark, time-traveling fantasy more than a paranormal novel like the title suggests, Ladies of the Secret Circus is totally, completely witch-y. Sayers has wr
Laura Peterson
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison (AlisonInLibraryLand)
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lara Barnes is getting married. She’s finishing getting ready, putting some special last touches on the dress, when she gets the news her fiancé isn’t there. In a town with virtually no crime someone going missing is suspicious but there’s nothing to go on for Lara or the cops to know if something actually happened or if he simply ran.

As Lara moves on we find out a little more about her magic and her family’s former circus, but when she ends up with her great-grandmother’s (Cecile) journals--tha
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

Lara's always known that the women in her family were a little different. The last in a matriarchal line of circus owner started by her great grandmother Cecile Cabot, Lara is brought up to hide the magic that courses through her veins. All of that changes, however, when her fiance goes missing on their wedding day. The mystery behind his disappearance harkens back to another disappearance 30 years before. Are they conn
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
*special thanks to Redhook publishing and NetGalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!

4 stars
I actually had already preordered a copy of this and was very excited when the publisher allowed me an early copy!
I read the author’s other novel, “A Witch in Time” a few weeks ago and loved it!
Like her other novel, it contains magic, curses, and time hops.
I love fantasies that are rooted in the “real” world, so this was right up my alley.
This is another beautifully and whimsical writte
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
*I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from a goodreads giveaway in exchange for a fair review.*

Lara Barnes knows about her family’s circus legacy... or so she thinks. Upon finding her great grandmother’s diaries, Lara discovers a much darker truth about her family’s magical circus ties. Can Lara save her family from a curse that’s been haunting them for generations?

This book was absolutely magical, and I was in awe of the world Constance Sayers created. Sayers is a very descriptive
Jan 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Overall I loved the plot and storylines. A really fun and unique setting with the creepy craziness of the circus. Dark at times with lots of twists and discoveries, it really kept me hooked.

I just wish there was more polish and consistency to the writing. There are parts that are written so beautifully and that flow so well, like the journal entries in particular, and I think it would be a stronger book if it was all first person.

I received this as a kindle ARC copy through goodreads giveaways.
Hannah Ireland
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Constance has a way of describing places and people in a way that makes you feel like you're there. From the time I picked up this book I couldn't put it down and was sad to see it end. I found myself cheering on some characters and hating others. This was a perfect magical escape. My only negative is that I often found myself having a hard time remembering the many characters. On my way to find more of her books! ...more
Andria Sedig
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
I really loved the dark whimsy of this book. The historical elements of the book were fascinating and kept me wanting to read more. I found myself wanting to piece together the threads of mystery that the author wove into the narrative. The use of magic was perfectly blended into the world and the circus was vivid and really came to life on the page. I LOVED this one! 
vicki honeyman
An historical novel that spans generations of a family that is connected to a magical secret circus located in Paris of the 1920's and the decades-long mystery surrounding the disappearance of their loved ones. Gorgeous descriptions of the most beautiful circus one could ever imagine witnessing abound in this fantasy mystery that does not fail to grab every bit of your attention. ...more
Clarissa Carter
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-thriller
I got this as an advanced reader from work. I devoured this book. From the start I was intrigued and enthralled. Can you imagine a Secret Circus that only exists in another dimension? Just wow and definitely would recommend.
Erin Dale
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
This was a wonderful book that reminded me of “The Night Circus”. It was magical and thrilling with a lot of twists and turns and great writing by the author. Highly recommend!
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh how I loved this book!!! Magic, Paris (both current day and the 20's), a secret circus, romance - it literally contained so many of my favorite things! This was so beautifully written and scenic. I was so immersed in every scene and could just picture myself everywhere. I really loved Lara's character and how she came into herself by the end of the story. This book was truly a gem. Thank you to Netgalley and Redhook Books for the ARC. ...more
rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2020
Tabitha Wade
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Jan 04, 2021
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Dec 10, 2020
Christine Staloch
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Jan 09, 2021
Alyssa Palombo
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Dec 16, 2020
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Constance Sayers' debut novel, A Witch in Time, is available now from Orbit (Hachette Book Group). You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @constancesayers.

A finalist for Alternating Current’s 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Prose, her short stories have appeared in Souvenir and Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women as well as The Coil. Her short fiction has

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