by Kristy Cambron
This novel is a fascinating peek into a world that is provocative and mysterious and a long time past. Cambron makes up a character who used to be Harry Houdini’s assistant. After Houdini’s death, she becomes an illusionist on her own and we get a limited view behind the scenes of a master illusionist.
Why do you think she doesn’t call him a Magician? Funny you should ask. My favorite part of this story is the historical detail she gives about the disagreement, nay, the hostility which arose between those who purported to speak with the dead, to actually command a force which they called magic, and those who believed that there was no such thing as magic, but only illusion. The difference matters, because the previous suggested control over a supernatural force, and many people dishonestly peddled this false influence in the “spirit” world for huge amounts of money, and the latter believed (knew) that those who did so were tricking people out of their money, and as such, they sometimes tried to reveal them for the frauds that they were.
Historically speaking, there was a shift from “scientific explanation” toward supernatural sensationalism at the time. Seances, table-turning, and all sorts of scams were run, but true illusionists knew they were merely creating an illusion and did not try to sell their talents as anything more than entertainment.
As a Christian author, Kristy Cambron handles this fascinating time period with grace and weaves in the truth as created by the Truth Teller in chief.
Oh. And there’s a love story too. And a mystery. And family secrets. And lies. And truth. It’s really good!
Check out my review of The Ringmaster’s Wife by Cambron – it has a similar feel. If you liked one of them, you’ll like the other too. Want to grab a copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice? You can find it here.