By: Barbara Ardinger
Publication Date: September 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 14, 2011
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. While some of the women feel that they need to be quiet and not spark trouble, others think it is time for them to reveal their Secret Lives; bring back the “circle” and begin to use their powers to make the streets safer and change the world for the better.
Readers are brought into the Wiccan world by these incredible ladies. From being able to release a dragon into the air to begin the transformation of the City; to being able to come together to talk to friends on the ‘other side,’ these women - with the next generation of witches by their side - are indestructible. There are doctors and nurses within the retirement home - some good, some evil. As well as family members and other characters introduced who either wish to help the elderly, or simply want to drug them so they will be quiet and out of the way. The women even receive a “familiar” - a truly funny cat by the name of Madame Blavatsky - who helps the women by ‘reading’ people and being able to travel to another time and place - to the heavens and beyond.
This intricate story is so captivating with such vivid, detailed characters, that readers will fall in love with this coven of “crones” immediately. But the added extra ‘gift’ is the huge amount of information this tale includes. Everything from ancient rituals, history, religion, witches, to the state of our elder-care system which is truly ‘Hell on Earth’ is presented. This author deserves a huge amount of applause and respect for creating this title!
Quill Says: The beauty of the writing, and the unbelievable truths that are written about, make this a stellar novel!