The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Publisher’s Review

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.

My Review

Wren Lockhart becomes embroiled in a mystery of epic proportions when, not long after Houdini’s death, she is at the scene of a possible murder.

Elliot Matthews is an agent in the recently formed FBI. He notices Wren, an eccentric woman dressed in men’s clothing, while attending the same event that culminates with a man’s death.

Kristy Cambron has written a lengthy story about the life of an illusionist in the 1920s. Her attention to detail during that era is noteworthy. However, the story is slow-paced with a lot of flashbacks, tending to cause the reader to lose interest. Wren is a very closed up character whom you never really get to know until near the end of the book. Because of this, it is hard to be invested her life, and she is one of the main characters!

Miss Cambron shows, through dialogue and some illustrations, the differences between illusion and magic. I feel she wants readers to be sure they know magic isn’t healthy, and illusion is just sleight of hand-a tenuous difference at best.

I tried to read the book with an open mind, but it was too dark and mystical, not to mention, just too ponderous for me.

I received a copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to provide a review.