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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review - Divine Circle of Ladies Painting the Town

I have reviewed the last few books in the series before this one,  Divine Circle of Ladies Playing with Fire (click here), Divine Circle of Ladies Rocking the Boat (click here), and the Divine Circle of Ladies Tipping the Scales (click here).  The author gave me an interview as well (click here).  I must provide a disclaimer right up front - this is my favorite paranormal mystery series.  I think of it as the genre trailblazer since series started long before a paranormal mystery was the "in" thing.

Author:  Dolores Stewart Riccio

Copyright:  August 2011 (CreateSpace) 299 pgs

Series:  8th in  Divine Circle Mysteries

Sensuality:  married romance, occasional adult references

Mystery Sub-genre:  Paranormal Amateur Sleuth

Main Character:  Cassandra Shipton, Herbalist and Clairvoyant

Setting:  modern day Plymouth, Massachusetts and Rome Italy

Obtained Through:  personal purchase

Let me introduce you to the five phenomenal women who are the Divine Circle:

Cassandra, the viewpoint character, is an herbalist and reluctant clairvoyant.

Phillipa, a cookbook author and poet who reads the Tarot a little too accurately.

Heather, an heiress and animal lover.  She makes magical candles and runs the local pet rescue.

Deidre, young widow who crafts dolls and magical amulets for sale in her boutique besides being a mother of four young children, she now communicates with the dead.

Fiona, the eccentric librarian who dowses with a crystal and is a fount of information - the wise woman of the group with a hippie side.  Don't let her "mature" age fool you!

The story  begins with Cass trying to help a disturbed ex-model, Ada, to control her pyro-kenitic ability mingled with her desire for revenge against her "Don Juan" husband who is a cut-throat divorce lawyer.  Ada's husband is conniving and dirty handed, planning to commit her to a mental institution to get some property in her name.

But before Cass can see Ada and her situation through, Deidre is on a romantic holiday in Rome when her National Geographic photographer boyfriend is kidnapped by the Calabrian Mafia.  The rest of the circle arrive in Rome and Fiona contacts her Italian penpal of the Strega witch heritage. They travel into the rural area to work powerful magic for the return of Deidre's boyfriend with the Strega and then join Deidre again. Even Joe manages to join Cass after his last Greenpeace job. The adventure in Italy takes them to Venice and Pompeii as well with plenty of exciting escapades.

With everyone finally safe and sound, they return home.  Cass finds that while they were away Ada has been accused of murdering her conniving husband.  The ladies focus on finding the true killer and clearing Ada's name.  This brings them close to danger yet again.

As usual the five women are the showcase of the story.  Cass has always been reluctant to have her psychic visions, but she is learning to induce them and somewhat embrace her ability.  Although this series illustrates how the gifts are not always perfect and spells may not work the way you expect.  

While in Rome it is more a thriller but in Plymouth it is more a mystery, so you get a little of both in this book.  The parts in Italy really did transport me for a whirlwind tour of Rome, Venice and Pompeii that I really want to duplicate for real.  The descriptions were effective in providing a feel of another country's vibe, sights, foods, and sounds. The sense of danger lurking was infused throughout.  I have missed Freddie though who is now Cass's daughter-in-law but initially came to Cass to learn to control her own gifts.  The last few books there has not been much with Freddie.

The mystery surrounding Ada and who killed her husband, with fire no less, had a good solid mystery to it.  The entire book has thrilling moments so the confrontation with the killer of Ada's husband is no different.  This series has developed and this book is a great addition giving adventure, excitement, a few good spells, some twists, and a murder to solve.  This may be the eighth book in the series but it shows no signs of wavering and consistently delivers a quality paranormal mystery with phenomenal characters.  Thank you again Ms. Riccio.

For your Halloween enjoyment, here is a classic music video with a monster twist from Huey Lewis and the News!  Enjoy :-)

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Kaye said...

I LOVE this series too. It's just one of my absolute best faves!

A.F. Heart said...

Thanks Kaye,

It is good to know great minds think alike!!


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