I haven't read a lot of Coelho, only The Alchemist, which I liked but didn't love as much as many people, and his most recent book Aleph, which I liked a lot and is the reason I decided to try some of his other works. I'm glad I did because I loved Brida. However, looking through the reviews I find that I didn't see it in quite the same way many readers did - as a love story or story about the wicca path. Instead I read it as a story about the universal truths of both seeking and teaching the mysteries in any tradition. I felt it was really about the choices we face on any mystic path, particularly the choice to give up an uncomplicated view of existence in pursuit of truth, which we then find will always be incomplete. I also felt it had many insights about being a teacher within such paths - the sacred trust that this is, and the personal sacrifices that must be made to consider what is right for a student - what will lead them closer to their own path in a particular moment - at all times.
On the surface it's the story of a young woman, Brida, who pursues the study of magic on a wicca-like path, the Tradition of the Moon, but also has another teacher, a Magus, who teaches the Tradition of the Sun. She also is seeking love, and her soul mates, and there is a lot of discussion of what love really is, and how it changes once one is on a path such as this. Coelho really is a magnificent writer. The book builds into a crescendo of insights on the part of each of the characters, just as the final ritual in the book builds. I saw that at least one reviewer complained that this ritual is not authentic, but that didn't bother me - this is a novel, Coelho always merges many paths in his work (and that is part of the point no doubt) and the ritual here is masterful as a aesthetic choice. So overall, I really loved this little book!