Title - Mystical Circles
Author - S.C. Skillman
Publisher - Blue Lily Press
Date Published - 2010
# of pages - 376
Juliet Blake is a freelance journalist concerned that her younger sister Zoe has fallen for the charismatic Craig, leader of the Wheel of Love, a dubious esoteric group. Under the guise of making a documentary, Juliet arrives at Craig's idyllic farmhouse in the Cotswolds, hoping to rescue Zoe. As her investigations deepen, relationships in the community are forged and shattered, with dangerous consequences for Juliet.
Mystical Circles is filled with a cast of characters that are at times both very large and very strange. And if nothing else, this novel is definitely a character study of those that live on the fringe. Being a New Age group, you can imagine there are a mix of different ideas and different people that come from all walks of life. But Mystical Circles is not just a character study. It is also a thriller with a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, career, and sisterly love.
I really enjoyed this book. It felt like it took no time at all to read. The tone of writing was very dark and mysterious. Yet, the happiness of some characters and way they enjoyed staying cut off from the world, attending strange classes that had them all acting out their internal struggles or desires - it was such a stark contrast that the darkness to it never took over too much and overwhelmed the story. Instead, everything worked so well together. My only complaint is that the plot seemed a little weak. I had wished that the author would have gone for something quite big and dramatic. Instead we have a mix of things that just sort of happen, and eventually through all of those happenings, Juliet gets her answers. There are also times when I wanted the plot to move faster - especially those times Juliet is trying to get an answer out of Craig or Don or really any of the other characters - and she is completely sidetracked and lets them sweep the question under the rug, so to speak. It was really frustrating!
As for the romance between Juliet and Craig, I just didn't get it. Hypothetically, I could see the two of them falling in love, but something seemed missing on Juliet's side. This probably has to do with the fact that she herself struggles with wanting to be with him. But her closeness to Craig, and his father, was really quite chilling. Again, that darkness and thriller aspect of the book really shone.
I enjoyed Mystical Circles and would recommend it to those who love a bit of mystery and romance but also to those who love to explore different point of view and thought. This New Age place that Juliet goes to is really fascinating and the characters are really worth reading about, in my opinion.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
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