May 8, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron {Book Review}

The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron~ Book Review
Every now and then a book comes across my radar that captures my attention from the first discovery. I am in a Facebook forum where I get to talk to authors of my favorite Christian fiction, and help them decide on covers and such. Last year, I remember voting on a cover--and I was captivated by simply the title and the cover, as well as a super short summary. I knew that if I was possible, I wanted to read The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron as soon as soon as possible!

Needless to say, when the book arrived for me to review as part of the Fiction Guild-- and I discovered that it even had the very cover I had voted for--well I was even more eager to dive into it. Would it be as good as I had judged it was, just from the cover?

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About The Illusionist's Apprentice

The Illusionist's Apprentice is Kristy Cambron's fourth novel in the Christian fiction genre. The story takes place during the "roaring twenties" in Boston, Massachusetts. The lead character is Wren Lockhart, apprentice to the recently deceased master illusionist Harry Houdini. Wren has continued her career of illusion on the vaudeville stage hoping to maintain the life she has created for herself, and keep her past and true identity buried. Unfortunately, this comes to a screeching halt when a rival performer's act goes tragically wrong--and the brand new FBI department comes knocking on her door to speak the truth. What follows is an FBI investigation into the hidden world of the vaudeville stage, and all the secrets it hides---some that have the power to shatter Wren's carefully controlled world. 

My Thoughts On the Book

I think I enjoyed this book even more than I normally would, because we just watched a historical fiction series on Netflix that had Houdini as a character in one of the episodes. Reading this book on the heels of that episode, made me enjoy it even more. I don't know a whole lot about the illusionist world, and enjoyed exploring it through Wren's eyes. The setting of the Jazz Age in America with the declining popularity of Vaudeville was a new experience. I haven't read many books set in this time period. I think that it was portrayed very well. 

The character of Jenny "Wren Lockhart" Charles was a complex one--for she had her public persona and her private persona, and never were the two allowed to meet. Her whole life was an illusion she created to hide the depth of hurt she had faced. In many ways, a lot of people could relate to her. Putting on a "good front" to hide the pain inside. Jenny believed herself to be accountable for many things that she had no control over--and so she never could quite accept the role God had designed for her--because she could never forgive herself.

Agent Elliott Matthews was one of the first who discovered the illusion that Jenny created for herself and it intrigued him. While his first order of business was to solve the crime, he wanted to also peel back the layers of "Wren" to discover the heart of Jenny. He was so patient with Jenny. I appreciated that. I think one of my favorite lines was Elliott telling Jenny:
"Someday you might be ready to leave Wren behind, but I won't ever push you to change. Loving someone is accepting all of who she is, not just the best or the easiest parts..." 
There is so much wisdom in that quote in regards to just relationships in general. 

I also like the way they talked about Wren's sister Charlotte and her disability. It was done very gently and lovingly. I loved Wren's relationship with her. 

The Illusionist's Apprentice earns 4 1/2 ★
I am happy to give The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron 4 1/2 stars. It was a great tale and the plot kept me guessing all the way to the end! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction. 

The Illusionist's Apprentice
by Kristry Cambron
Available in Kindle and Paperback 

I was so happy that the book lived up to my expectations. Now I am eager to get my hands on another of her books, The Ringmaster's Wife! I really enjoy her style of writing and look forward to reading more. 

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