Today I am sharing my review on The Unlikely Occultist, a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey. Many thanks to Isobel Blackthorn and Rachel from Rachels Random Resources for providing me with a copy of the book for review, and for asking me to take part in the tour!
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
I have to say, before picking up this book, I had never heard of Alice Bailey and wasn’t aware of her work, so this book was definite learning experience for me! Although I am not religious myself, I have always been fascinated by various religions and enjoy reading about them, which made it enjoyable to read about Alice Bailey as she transformed from her strict Christian upbringing, to becoming so widely known as a leading figure in the occultist/New Age movement.
The finer details of Theosophy and Esotericism were unfortunately a bit beyond my realms of knowledge, but that didn’t take too much away from the reading experience. It was truly fascinating to read about Alice, from her childhood all the way through to her death. She was the start of something big and clearly touched a lot of peoples lives in the years she was active. She overcame a strict and traumatic childhood, an abusive husband, and so much more in her life and came out stronger for it. She spoke her mind and stood up for her beliefs no matter the risk and no matter who stood against her. A truly incredible feat, when we remember this all took place between 1920s – 1940s – A time where women’s rights and equality had begun to take steps forward, but had a long, long way to go.
I was also able to relate closely with Heather, following her journey as she discovered Alice Bailey, researched her, and slowly became obsessed with finding out answers to all her questions. I have the same one track mind when I find something so interesting, so could totally see myself in her shoes, squirrelled away in a office after hours, snacking and surrounded by books on my chosen subject!
About The Author
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.