Title: Born of Illusion
Author: Terri Brown
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rating: 5 Stars
Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all? -Goodreads
"Born of Illusion" achieves that golden balance between great characters and enthralling story. Anna Van Housen, though young, has been through mush and seen even more. In a struggle for love and respect from her mother; the young illusionist knows that she must play the game without tipping her hand, both on and off the stage.
Illusions are one thing, but the things that Anna can do are quite another. This read allows one to explore that shadowy world between illusion and the super sensory. In a time when secrecy and mistrust were the words of the day, and traps having nothing to do with magic could wait behind any door.
Cole vs. Owen
Cole is a character that will steal your heart while making you think. He is not very flashy and doesn't come on very strong. What he is...quiet mystery and hidden power. To add cream to the coffee he's a Brit! Yum. Cole has so many layers that are only touched upon in this read. He, in this reviewer's opinion is well worth a book of his own...novella?
Anna's relationship with Cole is about so much more than romance. Anna grows as a person and discovers that it's o.k. to want more than what life is offering her with her mother.
He is also there to do some of the saving for Anna that she sorely needs.
Owen is a peacock who looks to be short a few feathers. While it is true that he is nice and very charming on the surface; he is hiding something that could prove dangerous to Anna and her mother.
One cannot discuss deception without speaking of Anna's mother. This is a woman who has built her life, and by extension Anna's life, on her ability to spin a good one.
Though it is often a dagger to the heart to watch, Anna's willingness to fight the specter that is her mother's legacy of lies, is what makes her worthy of every triumph and happiness.
The most intriguing question that Marguerite Van Housen's tall tales cause one to ponder is whether or not Anna is indeed the daughter of Houdini?
Anna's interactions with the great man never quite answer this for sure, leaving readers to form their own opinions.
As The Curtain Falls
This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to any lover of magic, mystery, and the supernatural. It is a full and well executed story that is more than capable of standing on it's own; though it is the first of a series. Though it is set in the 20's, there is a noted absence of flapperesqueness and easy speak.
Can't wait for book 2!