The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers
The Secret Circus only gives tickets to those who ask, but at what price? The Secret Circus disappeared decades ago, so why then is Lara Barnes hunting it down after her fiancé mysteriously disappears? The Cabot family ran Margot’s circus and the women in the family have a history of being heartbroken when the man they love disappears. Cecile started the circus after leaving the Secret Circus, and settled in a small town in Virginia to protect herself and her family. However, every 30 years a man mysteriously disappears. The mysterious perfect town now has a missing man, and oddly no clues on who did it or what happened. The plot twists in this book are too good, and hinted at so faintly the reader might miss them. It is a deliciously good book, with family drama, murder, and mythology all revolving around a circus hosted by the daemon Althacazur. A thrilling read, that does not let the reader turn away, and almost wants a ticket to the Secret Circus by the end of the book.
Character List/Book Summary:
Cecile Cabot = Lara’s great grandmother, left France in 1926 with infant Margot, in 1938 she started Cirque Margot, took care of Audrey after Margot’s death, warns Lara that Althaczur is not good and no good can come from him.
Lara Barnes = enchants her wedding dress when it isn’t perfect on her wedding day, after her fiancé disappears on the way to the wedding she buys a radio station and a Victorian house in town to fix up. Starts to have feelings for Ben, wants to know who pretended to be Cecile in the painting. Is visited by a strange man and lady throughout her life.
Audrey Barnes = Lara’s mom, a superior spell caster, breeder of Lippitt Morgan horses, cannot see Todd when he disappears, casts spells to keep Lara safe. Knows that someone is after her and Lara, but does not know who as Cecile never told her that.
Todd Sutton = Lara’s soon to be husband that disappears on the way to their wedding.
Jason Barnes = Lara’s dad, is in a band, helps her run the radio station. Flustered when Lara hears a song from Peter. Knows some of Audrey’s secrets and keeps them for Lara’s sake.
Ben Archer = Chief of Police in Kerrigan Falls, VA. Friends with Lara, takes her to the Circus ball, tells her not to give up on him when she admits she is not sure she is over Todd.
Caren Jackson = Lara’s maid of honor and best friend. Buys a coffee shop in town that Lara and Ben often meet at.
Peter Beaumont – disappeared 30 years to the day as Todd, car parked in the exact way too. Jason’s best friend and singer in his band.
Gaston Boucher = owns an art gallery in town, Lara thinks he might be dating her mom, Audrey. Explains the painting Audrey has of her mom is not of Cecile but could be worth millions.
Margot Cabot = Cecile’s daughter, expert horsewoman, had spells of craziness when she returned from running away with a driver. Died but visists Audrey and Lara.
Althacazur = comes to Lara in the field and tells her that Todd is not her destiny. Cecile calls him father. Asks Lara to go to Paris and he will be in touch with her about Todd and her family.
Esme = Cecile’s twin sister, mean to her because of what their father had done. Cannot be captured in painting or film. Althacazur cannot capture her and bring her back to the circus, but Lara might be able to.
Emile Giroux = painter who wants to meet Cecile after her act. Cecile falls in love with him and becomes pregnant with his child. Althacazur allows him to paint 3 people in the circus Cecile, Esme, and Sylvie. Is punished by Esme when he rejects her for Cecile.
Sylvie = works as a trick rider in the Secret Circus, loves Cecile. Gaston thinks Audrey’s painting is of Sylvie not Cecile. Agrees to help Cecile and protect Margot when Cecile gets worried.
Teddy = expert on Giroux and confirms the painting is one of the missing 3, spent his life studying the Secret Circus and Giroux. Lara makes him a kind offer at the end of the book.