Author: Kristy Cambron
Published by: Thomas Nelson on Mar. 7, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Format: eBook, ARC
Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley
Book Rating: 8.5/10
Harry Houdni’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.
This is a compelling tale about magic, jealousy, love, loss, greed, revenge, secrets and murder.
The story is set in Boston in the mid-to-late 1920s shortly after the death of the renowned Harry Houdini and at a time when variety entertainment, including defy-defying feats, tricks and illusions were all the rage.
There are two main memorable characters in this novel; Jenny “Wren”, a young Houdini protégé, famed in her own right and struggling with a dark past, an abundance of secrets, and a reluctance to trust; and Elliot, a FBI agent with a case to solve that not only involves a victim who momentarily comes back from the dead, but a list of suspects for whom deception is an art and a woman who may even steal his heart.
The writing is vivid and descriptive. The supporting characters are multi-layered, quirky and flawed. And the plot is unique and skillfully constructed with a good use of dialogue, banter and a past/present style that creates suspense and gives understanding and depth to the storyline.
Overall this is an extremely enjoyable, engaging read that does a remarkable job of interweaving historical facts, fiction, and mystery and I highly recommend it.
This novel is due to be published on March 7, 2017.
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Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.