Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Publication Date: June 11, 2013

Publisher: Balzer & Bray


A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage shows and seances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians and mentalists in 1920s New York. For Anna, the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini - or so Marguerite claims - handcuffs and sleight-of-hand illusions have never been much of a challenge. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her mother: because while Marguerite's power may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people's feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna's powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions of her mother in peril, which lead her to explore the abilities she's tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a society that studies people with gifts like hers, she begins to wonder if there's more to life than keeping secrets.

As her visions become darker and her powers spin out of her control, Anna is forced to rethink all she's ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna's visions merely illusions? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite's tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, with the temptations of Jazz Age New York --- and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

I don’t know what it is about the roaring 1920’s that appeal to me so much. But as soon as I see a book is set in that time period, I immediately picture, speakeasies, jazz music, flappers, and short haircuts. The 1920’s always seemed liked a fun and exciting time to live in. So for me reading about it is the next best thing. 

In Born of Illusion Anna is a very talented magician who recently moved to New York with her mom. She loves to perform in front of a crowd. Magic really does appear to be her true calling.  Anna and her mother do a show together thanks to the assistance of a manager that Anna doesn’t care that much for.  This mother/daughter relationship is anything but easy and carefree; more like complicated and inconsistent.

Anna’s mom is unfeeling and shows signs of jealously over Anna’s talent when it looks like they might outshine her own. Her mom loves the spotlight and I got the impression that she would do whatever she had to do to be number one, even if that meant pushing Anna out of the way.

Even though Anna believes that her mom doesn’t care that much for her, she still loves her mom. And soon Anna becomes concerned over her mom’s safety after she begins to suffer vivid and powerful visions about her mom.

There is some romance in the story. I like a little romance from time to time, especially in historical fiction.  But what I do not like are love triangles, which is something that occurs in this story. I can understand wanting to have conflict for the character, but does it have to be in the form of a love triangle? The indecisiveness started to become annoying.

Apart from that I thought that the plot was unique, the writing was well done, and the characters were interesting. I hoped that Houdini would have played a bigger part in the story though, especially since Anna is supposedly his illegitimate daughter.

I would recommend Born of Illusion to readers who enjoy historical fiction mixed with magic, and romance/love triangles.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

**I received this book on behalf of Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins in exchange for nothing, but my honest opinion. Thank you.**




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