The Book of Secrets, the follow-up to 1994's The Mask and Mirror -- there was a Christmas EP, A Winter Garden, released in 1995) -- finds Loreena McKennitt in the same musical vein, mixing Celtic, Spanish, Italian, and new age to create her own distinct sound. The only problem is that she did not seem to progress much during the time between releases. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since she still knows how to write incredible melodies and layer instruments to produce peaceful images. "Night Ride Across the Caucasus" and "Dante's Prayer" are just two prime examples of this. And she continues her practice of setting classic poetry to music (Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman"). Expertly recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios, this CD serves as a travelog of sorts for McKennitt, musically detailing her travels during 1995 and 1996. She provides the musical and lyrical inspirations from each location she visited, utilizing the instruments and sounds she encountered on her travels. Although she may be referred to as the Canadian Enya, McKennitt is definitely her own person, producing music of beauty and warmth.
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AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley