Friday, March 3, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron
Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage to escape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.
But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.
My Thoughts: 
1920's vaudeville, Boston. A time when magic and illusion drew crowds with intrigue and skepticism. Just how did Harry Houdini tease the eyes of many? Only one person knows ...

The Illusionist's Apprentice.

The cover of this book drew me in instantly. Who doesn't love magic? Or Illusion? Is there a difference? Author, Kristy Cambron, weaves a story that introduces us to Wren Lockhart, the apprentice of the infamous Harry Houdini, an illusionist who finds herself at the front of the stage in a  murder investigation and under the scrutiny of FBI Agent Elliot Matthews.

For me this story started out much slower than I like. Though the first chapter begins with an illusion that ends in a death what follows for the next 8 chapters is set up. The rest of the story picks up in pace and it wasn't long before I was fully enveloped in the story.

Wren's history unfolds twice through the memories she holds as a little girl and those as she grows into a skilled vaudeville illusionist. It's the latter that I wanted to see more of. Part of me wanted to step into the life of Wren Lockhart and see the Jazz Age through her eyes as a performer but the main focus of her background was in the painful childhood that she's hiding from and though there's relevance to the story I didn't find it as captivating as the bits when Wren transformed from that little girl into the vaudeville spectacle.

Ms. Cambron does a wonderful job creating characters with depth and a healthy dose of gumption. My favorite character was Agent Connor Finnegan and I wished there was more of him throughout the story. Amberley Dover was another such character. Both of these secondary characters brought the era alive to me through their description, behavior, and dialogue.

What Ms. Cambron is especially skilled at is bringing a story to closure through theme. Life is a stage and it's no less so for her characters in The Illusionist's Apprentice. As the story comes to a dramatic end and the curtains lower this one line summed up perfectly what you'll find within the pages:

"It's how we live that will convince them what is truth and what is an illusion." 
-Harry Houdini in The Illusionist's Apprentice

Fans of Kristy Cambron's vintage-inspired stories will find this story a magical addition to their shelves as will those who love history, mystery, and romance illuminated beneath the spotlight of a bygone era.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. You can purchase your copy of The Illusionist's Apprentice HERE.


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