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Secret Lives Paperback – September 8, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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*
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delightful! The various characters were well-developed and it was hard to put down once I started reading it.Published 16 months ago by Cindy S. Bene
I enjoyed this book very much. The subject matter (elderly people and their lives), I'm one so I identified with them. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kathleen Coffman
While described as a novel, this book is more like a series of vignettes, linked by common characters. Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by Laurie A. Brown
I received this book quickly and in excellent condition. I recommend the seller.
The book is interesting to me, though a bit long. I'm still reading it. Read more
Barbara Ardinger's new book Secret Lives, reads like Terry Pratcher on acid. It is enormously creative, zany, well-crafted and full of people you'd love to know and have as... Read morePublished on January 4, 2012 by Ariel Monserrat
Fans of neo-pagan fiction will love this book! Barbara Ardinger weaves together the secret lives, loves, personal histories, and ancestral legacies of a coven of witches who live... Read morePublished on November 11, 2011 by Elizabeth Hazel