Monday, December 05, 2011

On the Library Table - The Divine Circle of Ladies Painting the Town

Cassandra Shipton and her divine circle (or coven) of ladies are at it again, and as usual there is more than a touch of cunning woman to their undertakings. 

At the request of a friend, Cass agrees to help an ex-model named Ada learn to control her pyro-kinetic talents. The sordid antics of Ada's estranged husband are fanning the flames of her latent abilities, and if something is not done quickly, she just may start a fire that makes her existence too hot to handle. The troubled wife has good reasons to be hostile - a cad and a bounder of the first order, the philandering Jerry is conniving to have her committed to a mental institution in order to gain control of her physical and financial property.

Cass is comfortably ensconced in her beloved seaside cottage with her Greenpeace engineer husband Joe Ulysses and is working with Ada when she learns that the photographer paramour of one of the circle (Diedre) has been abducted for ransom by a Calabrian crime syndicate while on assignment in Rome.

The divine circle of ladies flies off to Rome subito to comfort their coven mate and solve the kidnapping.  Once in Italy, they are joined by a powerful group of rural strega who add their own potent blend of earthy magic to the matter of liberating Diedre's gentleman friend.  When he manages to escape from his kidnappers, the women are off to see all the best sights in Italy including Venice and Pompeii.

On returning home, the circle learns that Ada's husband Jerry has perished in his own home by fire, and that Ada has been charged with his murder.  Cass's newfound ability to induce and channel her psychic visions is put to the test during the ensuing investigation, and so are the formidable powers of her coven sisters.  All will be well of course, for the women of the circle are more than a match for any evil doer they meet in their travels.

I've been a fan of the Cassandra Shipton novels since a friend gave me the first one as a gift years ago, and this eighth is a delight, a reading experience to be treasured.  This book has it all - paranormal events and fey abilities, arcane doings, rollicking adventures, deep dark mysteries and sordid crimes to be solved - there are tantalizing snippets of herbal lore and gorgeous recipes too. I often wish "the ladies" lived in my village, for they are, one and all, rare and splendid characters, and I would enjoy knowing them.

Dolores Stewart Riccio goes from strength to strength in writing these novels, and the "Divine Circle" series gets better with every book published - I am already looking forward to the next one.


Jennifer said...

oh! I can't wait to look for this author when I get to work today! (I work in a a bookstore) She sounds wonderful and I have been looking for my next favorite author!

I think I will start posting a similar book review on my blog. I get to read advance copies of books several months before they're published. I also get to "check out" books at work, and of course I buy lots of books, too. I have a real weakness for reading and I seek out others with the same affliction! :)

Thanks again for the recommendation!

Tabor said...

Too many books...too little time!!

Keechy said...

I've just finished reading the second book and got the next three on the way from secondhand bookstores. :)