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Secret Lives Paperback – September 8, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 650 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466251786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466251786
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,401,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once upon a time Barbara Ardinger was my editor for my first novel. Naturally, when I heard that her latest novel SECRET LIVES was coming out I couldn't wait to get a copy. I knew she wouldn't disappoint, and she didn't. I love this type of book, although I haven't read anything like it in years. Too busy reading formula fiction like James Patterson writes, I suppose. Funny thing about Patterson's books, I read them once (quickly) and that's it, it's off to the patient library of the local Veterans Hospital. Now this book is different, this book will have an honored place on my bookshelves, probably for the rest of my life. You see, I just turned 70, so this book's theme is pertinent to me. This is the kind of book I read and read again. In time it will become dog eared, highlighted, and underlined--"Herta looked down at the cat, one leg in the air, washing an inner thigh. 'Madame Blavatsky--'(love that name) one orange ear swiveled." Funny, I thought witches' cat familiars were black, like Pyewacket in BELL, BOOK and CANDLE. Oh well, at least orange is a Halloween color, after all. I shall make a note in the margin of page 59.

Normally I shun prologues like the plague, but I read this one and it hooked me. "Even with all of her shamanic powers, she cannot do this one simple thing." Les Edgerton in his wonderful book HOOKED quotes Barry Hannah's short story "Getting Ready": "'He was forty-eight, a fisherman, and he had never caught a significant fish.' Wow. One word enables this sentence to transcend the mundasne to the sublime. Can you guess what it is? The adjective significant." In the opening of Ardinger's prologue, the adjective is the word simple. Wow. With all her magic she cannot even make herself comfortable on her little bench.
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Format: Paperback
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 disturbing message one day, the people must leave or risk being trampled by pale men. The shaman promises that she will see them one day again. Then the setting shifts again.

The reader will find him/herself in 1980 with a group of senior citizens. Some are funny, some are "strong women," and some are one sandwich short of a picnic basket at times. The women are quite literally strong though, Wicca is brought up. The women may want to open up their "secret lives" and hopefully help their neighborhood-recently threatened by thugs.

This book contains memorable and enjoyable characters, intriguing events, and a huge store of knowledge concerning different aspects of Wicca. The reader will easily connect to the main characters and be able to focus on them completely. The ending was satisfying, this book is recommended to adult readers.

*complimentary review copy provided, this does not affect my opinion in any way*
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Format: Paperback
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, comforting place to live. The people 'see' this Goddess through the old shaman who loves, protects, and keeps her community together; she answers questions, and calls upon the Goddess for help. When she sees the images and is told the stories of the 'pale men on four-footed creatures' who are riding towards them night and day, ready to destroy their village as they have the ones before, the shaman tells her people to pack up and leave - follow a new path and live to fight another day and she will one day - someday - see them all again.

Immediately readers are taken into the 1980's in Long Beach, California where the world is certainly changing right before this community's eyes. A group of seniors - made up of some very powerful and completely hysterical women - are friends in this small, sunny world. Headed up, per se, by Emma Clare (age 97), who still lives in her own residence while most of her friends live inside the Center Towers Retirement Residence, this group of "crones" hold a huge amount of power.

One day, as a few of the friends are walking outside to the stores, buses, etc. - they witness the confusion and fear that now threatens their streets. Bullies, gangs, drugs - every bit of evil is crawling into their small community.
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Format: Paperback
In the interest of full disclosure, I should explain that I am the designer who laid out the book and cover, though the lovely artwork should be credited to Another. I should also explain that am a writer myself--something that comes in handy when I'm typesetting books for my clients. I find it impossible to design and typeset a book without reading it. In reading, I Notice Things. Sometimes I notice typo's or grammatical goobers. Sometimes I Notice that what I'm typesetting is a really, really good book. And that brings us to Secret Lives.

Secret Lives is a collection of short stories, woven together to form a larger, overarching narrative. That makes it a great bedside table book; it's possible to pick it up, reach a chapter, set it down, and go to sleep--or, as happens as things begin to escalate, one can read on and on without feeling the lurching stop/start that often results from reading a collection of short stories.

So, Secret Lives is a book of interwoven stories about witches, Wiccans, Pagans, circles, magic, and familiars. That it will appeal to those interested in or participating in alternative spiritual paths is a given. But what is perhaps less obvious is that this is a book that explores issues pertinent to society at large; the central characters are pagans, true, but they live in and cope with the everyday world.

The struggles they face are struggles every aging person must face at some point, increasingly limited mobility, the potential of mental and physical decline, illness, finances, the increased danger crime poses to the increasingly vulnerable, venal "elder care" systems.
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