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.
Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage.
Kristy Cambron’s recent release, The Illusionist’s Apprentice, has all of these and more.
When I first started the novel, I couldn’t help but notice the strength of her prose.
It flows as if it were easily written — although I am sure it wasn’t — and weaves together a story full of magnetism.
Cambron appears to be a master at creating atmosphere in her novel. The scenes that unfold are rich with details that brought the time and setting alive for me.
But as much as I loved the historical details — I’m a bit of a history junkie — the characters inhabiting this tale are its pièce de résistance.
Cambron has created a wonderful cast of characters full of life and emotions. They carry their pasts around with them in their luggage, but it is so delightful to get to know them.
Wren was an interesting and complex heroine who was fascinating to read about, and her past was used masterfully to affect her present and tint her future.
Elliot also was well drawn and believable. The interaction between the two is composed wonderfully, and is like watching a battle of wits and wills.
While this was the first of Cambron’s novels I’ve read, it certainly won’t be the last. It looks like I’ve discovered another author to add to my favorites shelf.
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book. However, all opinions are my own.
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014, and nominated for RT Book Reviews’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and for the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel.
Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal’s Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction) for February 2015 and a Top Pick for RT Book Reviews.
Cambron holds a degree in art history from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three young sons.