Winner of the Honorable Mention Award in the Realistic Fiction category of the 2021 Readers’ Favorite book awards.
The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey
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 of history, and author of Conspiracy Theories
“Blackthorn’s book offers a fascinating portrait of a woman dismissed by mainstream thinkers and religions, a woman whose current obscurity is all the more poignant considering the grandeur of her ambitions and her hopes for a healed world.” – Misty Urban, Historical Novels Society, Issue 88 May 2019
“[Isobel Blackthorn] has given us back the idea of Bailey, and the inspiration to re-read her work and re-examine her remarkable ideas…Blackthorn is to be thanked for her scrupulously-researched novel…” – Walter Mason, New Dawn Magazine, July 2019
“The author details a great deal of her life, no doubt founded in meticulous research, and indeed it is a biographical novel which makes her life feel very real. The author has an elegant writing style and tailors her idiom to the era – either present day or back to the formality of the early 20th Century.
“The title, considering the content, is really very apt (and if like me you are not drawn to books with ‘occult’ or similar in the title, don’t be put off!). A very interesting and unusual read!” – Tina for the TripFiction Team, July 2019
“How Isobel Blackthorn interweaves the life of Alice of the last century and the life of Heather at the present time is truly masterful. This book provides a context for anyone interested in Alice’s teachings and books, the Arcane School, or organizations she or her followers founded. A novel based on historical facts, The Unlikely Occultist is truly an exceptional read.” 5 STARS Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-unlikely-occultist
Extract from the article: “Perhaps it is about time the conspiracy narrative surrounding Alice Bailey is challenged and her contribution to human thought acknowledged and evaluated and even appreciated, not least for its fundamental intention of goodwill. An opportunity exists today just as it did in Bailey’s day to step into a better world, yet this chance is contingent on the willingness of more and more people to do something to make a difference and take on the responsibility for co-creating alternatives. Good ideas abound. Innovation is everywhere. Perhaps now, more than ever, humanity needs a touch of Alice Bailey’s zeal to fully realize our potential.”
I have written a short biography with pictures which you can find by clicking this link.
Listen to this podcast in which I chat about Alice Bailey and spirituality
Here is my piece, published in Trip Fiction, describing my research at the State Library of Victoria. https://www.tripfiction.com/isobel-blackthorn-state-library-victoria-melbourne/