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SC Skillman's first novel "Mystical Circles", published by Luminarie, is available both in paperback and as an ebook.
It is a prequel to "A Passionate Spirit". Both books can be read as standalone, but if you're going to read both, "A Passionate Spirit" follows on from the events of "Mystical Circles"; it's set in the same gracious Cotswolds manor house
and takes place three years later, taking forward three of the characters from the first novel.
In "Mystical Circles", Juliet sets off to rescue her younger sister Zoe from the clutches of a mystical cult.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hi, you in crowded, stressed old London from me in the peaceful, perfect Cotswolds. Massive change of plan. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in love. CraigÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gorgeous, sexy, intelligent. Paradise here. Staying forever.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Juliet, concerned that her younger sister has fallen in love with the charismatic Craig, leader of the Wheel of Love, sets off for the Cotswolds to investigate.
She arrives at CraigÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s community hoping to mount a rescue. But intrigues, liaisons and relationships flare and flourish or fizzle out quickly within this close circle, and despite her reservations, Juliet is drawn into the Wheel of LoveÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ with completely unforeseen consequences.
Sheila takes bookings as a speaker at local groups, where she talks on "The Power of Story", and on "The Highs and Lows of the Writing Life". She also attends several fairs and events throughout the year, where she signs and sells her books.
So far, as at March 2018, the events calendar for 2018 is as follows:
Wed 13 June to the South Warwickshire NHS Retirement Fellowship in Warwick
Fri 15 June to the Warwickshire NHS Retirement Group in Warwick
Wed 7 Nov to the Northgate Methodist Church Guild in Warwick
FAIRS AND EVENTS
Sat 31 March - Easter Craft and Gift Fair in Atherstone
Sun 20 May - Spring Artisan Fair in Nuneaton
Fri 1- Sun 3 June - Author Stall at the UK Games Expo, Birmingham NEC
Sat 8 Dec - Christmas Market at King Edwar VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon
"A Passionate Spirit" is a fast-paced supernatural-tinged thriller with a colourful collection of characters and several twists and turns before the final dramatic chapters.
There is plenty of action and sparky dialogue as the mysterious events of the opening scenes start to reveal their meaning.
Some of the themes of the author's previous novel "Mystical Circles" reappear but are taken in a new and darker direction.
by Mike Priaulx
As someone very much inspired by place, the setting of this thriller was very evocative. The serenity of the English landscape contrasted cleverly with the claustrophobia of an American style cult. I took the book everywhere with me around the house when I was reading it - a very rare activity for me - it was so compelling.
by Helen Lambell
This novel creates a good sense of ‘creepyness’ and tension. At times the writing is rather stilted which interrupts the flow of the story but as the tension grows in the second half of the book the writer seems to be affected by her own ideas and the narration fairly roars along. A good story where the ending leaves a thread for a possible sequel.
by Michael P
This novel is a paranormal-spiritual patchwork, drawing inspiration from all directions that are bound to intrigue a large array of people. Ghostly encounters, spiritual healing, mental health, life in show business and sinister cults all play a part in the unusual tale.
The pace is a little slow around the middle of the novel, which would be positive if the atmosphere and tension were more prominent to amplify the sense of mounting unease. Based on the information on the antagonists from the beginning, many characters' reactions seem disproportionate. If some of the revelations from the last act had been introduced sooner their responses would have seemed more justified. But as the action and pace pick up at the end, the emotional stakes are also raised and the characters become far more multi-dimensional and empathetic.
The end of the novel is gripping and will leave you guessing and startled by many of the revelations. It wouldn't be a surprise if it prompted hours of additional research into topics you weren't aware of. This is definitely a book to read if you like unconventional stories of the paranormal merging with issues that are disturbingly close to reality.
by Abigail R
A compelling story with fascinating twists and turns and excellent characters whose often surprising relationships never failed to amaze and hold one’s interest. A really great setting too for the whole tableau of events. Very well done.
by John Denning
When I was asked to read 'A Passionate Spirit' I almost thought that this could be a romantic novel, which is certainly not within my radar! This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I was thrilled to find from the outset that this was going to develop into a sinister tale.
The main characters, Zoe and Theo are very cleverly interwoven with two unusual newcomers, James and Natasha. As the plot progresses, the reader is introduced to a ghostly child who is in danger and several dark paranormal events occur. Zoe's friend Alice plays an important part as the tale unravels and romps to a startling conclusion.
SC Skillman explores the concept of unusual cults and beliefs, which although she has obviously researched, just went slightly beyond the realms of being believable, hence awarding four stars. I will certainly look out for this author again.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
by Breakaway Reviewers
SC Skillman studied English Literature at Lancaster University. She has previously worked within a BBC radio production office and later spent four years in Australia. She now lives in Warwickshire with her husband David, their son Jamie and daughter Abigail.