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The Illusionist’s Apprentice

The Illusionist's Apprentice by [Cambron, Kristy]Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric–even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

5 Star

 

Very rare is it that I read a novel and immediately want to read it again. Movies I do that with all the time. By the end, I know how everything turns out and I want to watch it again to see if I can pick up on those subtle clues. That’s the case with this book. Cambron created her own illusion with this book with a bit of slight of hand and wrote a novel stunning in its story and mysterious in its plot.

The novel starts with curious circumstances with a man who claims to be able to raise someone from the dead. It’s with this scene, that our main characters first see each other and are both forced into the events that unfold through The Illusionist’s Apprentice. I loved watching these two main characters, Wren and Elliot interact on the page. How different they seem at first but then learn how similar they are as well. Both characters are so well developed and even the minor ones bring a life all their own to the pages of this story.

And then there is the plot. I was surprised at the level of mystery in this book. It certainly stands out from Cambron’s previous three novels in that way. And she certainly handled it expertly. Illusions are known for everything usually being done in plain sight of the audience… there are just distractions that pull attention away. That’s exactly how everything unfolds in this book. By the end, I loved understanding how everything happened but was amazed at how many things I didn’t pay attention to.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a unique story with a wonderful message. It brings to life the history of the 20’s and the great Houdini. But it also speaks truth. If you enjoy historical fiction, unique and interesting settings, and mystery and intrigue, I highly recommend this novel.

“Truth is the illusion we always chase.”

-Elliot Mathews, The Illusionist’s Apprentice

 

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