|The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron|
Blurb: Harry Houdini's one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.
Boston, 1926. Jenny "Wren" Lockhart is a bold eccentric--even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman's dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.
In the months following Houdini's death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini's ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he's known as one of her teacher's greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton's defender.
Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren's carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age's bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist's Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life's stage.
5 Stars *****
From time-to-time I read a novel which touches me to the extent I have a problem finding adequate words I feel will do it justice in a review. Such a book is 'The Illusionist's Apprentice' by Kristy Cambron.
It wasn't love at first "sight" for me and the eccentric Jenny "Wren" Lockhart. Changes were wrought when I realized the eccentricity was not only a part of her act as an illusionist, but a cover to hide her pain and protect she and her family. As her exterior layers were gently peeled away by F.B.I. agent Elliot Matthews - the true beauty, strength, and vulnerability of Wren was exposed; I found her to be very poignant as the story unraveled. In the process, Elliot was also captivated and forced to embrace some issues of his own, while allowing Wren to be true to herself.
The suspense, mystery, vengefulness, and plot twists in 'The Illusionist's Apprentice' kept me riveted to it's pages; being transported to the intriguing world and age of vaudeville and the story's magic versus illusion theme educated and mesmerized me; the tender romance, faith, and wittiness of various characters warmed my heart. However, it was the revelation of several life-lesson reminders that touched my soul: (1) In judging a person by his/her outward appearance, one may miss the depth and beauty hidden inside. (2) Each person encounters, endures, and is tested by trials - often unknown and invisible to peers. (3) The necessity of one's opening up and exposing vulnerability and reaching out in faith and trust to engage life fulfillment and happiness, both personally and spiritually.
I found the discussion guide and author's eloquent notes added even more depth to a story that gave me pause for reflection of it's characters long after I finished reading it. A beautiful, unique story that captured my heart and left me exclaiming "wow"!
(I was gifted a copy of this novel by it's publisher, and was not required to write a positive review of it. This review is my honest opinion of 'The Illusionist's Apprentice' by author Kristy Cambron.)