Today I am sharing a completely different book to those I usually share. The blurb The Unlikely Occultist: A Biography Novel of Alice A. Bailey by Isobel Blackthorn intrigued me so I had to accept the offer of this tour by Rachel’s Random Resources. Scroll down to see if it satisfied my curiosity.
Book Review: The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey by Isobel Blackthorn
Title: The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey
Author: Isobel Blackthorn
Genre: fictional biography, spiritual, religion
Release date: 4th December 2018
Librarian Heather Brown discovers the fascinating life of Alice Bailey – a long forgotten occultist.
Back in 1931, Alice is preparing to give a speech at a Swiss summer school. But how can she stave the tide of hatred and greed set to bring the world to its knees?
Soon after, Alice is put on Hitler’s blacklist. What she doesn’t realize is the enormity of her influence to the world, and the real enemies who are much closer than she thinks.
A dynamic and complex figure, Alice Bailey’s reach was huge. She was influential among people and organizations of global power, especially the United Nations, and is widely regarded as the Mother of the New Age.
Yet today she is maligned by fundamentalist Christians, Theosophists, Jews, academics and above all, by conspiracy theorists. Are any of these groups justified in rejecting the unlikely occultist?
“Blackthorn’s exploration of Alice Bailey’s life and work provides a unique and intimate insight into Bailey’s life and the times in which she lived. For anyone seeking to explore the roots of Bailey’s influence on the New Age movement as well as her unsought role as the bête noire of the conspiracy scene, there’s no better place to begin.” – Aaron John Gulyas, associate professor and author of Conspiracy Theories
Purchase Link – viewbook.at/Occultist
Though captivated by the blurb, I was not sure what to expect when I began this novel. I had no knowledge of Alice A. Bailey, for reasons that became clear as the story progressed, but her strong, opinionated and determined personality jumped off the page and her unusual life kept me reading. I knew she was a spectacular woman when it was revealed she played a role in bringing the the United Nations Meditation Room to fruition. It is a place I would like to see and experience. More information of this unusual place can be found here.
Alice Bailey’s life emerges when librarian Heather Brown begins to archive boxes of research into this fascinating woman. The novel follows both women. In the present, Heather is consumed with grief for her beloved aunt and uses the books, diaries and an unfinished autobiography as an escape while Alice Bailey’s life begins in 1880. It is Alice’s story which drew me in. Her hard life took her across the globe from England, India and America at a time where the threat of from Hitler is rising. The increasing hate is in contrast with her aim to bring peace and people together to spread the word of Goodwill and increase enlightenment under the advice of her spiritual guide, The Tibetan. She successfully blended her strict Christian beliefs with more theosophical and Esoteric theories to become the Mother of the New Age. I am pleased this is a written review and not a vlog as I can not pronounce many of the new words I learnt. The novel follows her accomplishments and downfall which led her name to falling into obscurity.
When Alice Bailey attempted to write her autobiography she said “I would really render a service if I could show people how I became what I am from what I was. It might be useful to know how a rabid orthodox Christian worker could become a well-known occult teacher.” Isobel Blackthorn’s use of fiction cleverly achieves this; Alice Bailey’s name and work is brought into the mainstream rather than hidden in the shadows. I feel the complicated theories may have been too dry and overwhelming to have kept my interest if depicted as non-fiction. Fiction makes them accessible to the reader and encouraged me to read around the subject. This was not a quick read because of the complex subject it covered but it was worth taking the time needed to understand the ideas driving this formidable woman.
Would I recommend?
Yes,I loved this book and it encouraged me to explore esotericism further. It is well worth reading if you are interested in the New Age, spirituality or simply love a unique, unusual read. In the current political and environmental climate I found it as enlightening read.
Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of unique and engaging fiction. She writes across a range of genres, including psychological thrillers, gripping mysteries, captivating travel fiction and hilarious dark satire.
Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel, The Unlikely Occultist.
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Would you like to know more about this book or the author why not visit other blogs on the tour? Details can be found below.
Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Isobel Blackthorn for inviting me to take part in this tour and bringing this intriguing book and ideas to my attention.