Monday, May 27, 2013

Candace Reviews Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published: June11th, 2013 by Balzer & Bray
Source: Amazon Vine
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Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?

There's so much about this book to love. Once I heard about it it was one that I knew I HAD to have!  The things that really caught my eye were the time period (1920's) and setting (NYC) and the subject (magicians, mediums and mentalists).  So all that was left was for the characters to be great, the romance to work and for the story to pull everything together in a way that makes the book actually enjoyable to read.  And wow, I found myself really loving this book!

Anna was a character that I found myself liking right away.  She's a magician, or an illusionist and does a show with her mother, a mentalist.  She's very good at what she does which makes her mother somewhat jealous since she's good, but she wants to be the star of the show and doesn't want anyone to steal the spotlight.  But Anna loves her mother unconditionally and stands by her side.  Anna is more than just a magician or illusionist though, she may have actual real gifts, which she discovers during a seance her mother holds.  Some of these 'abilities' she's known of, but new things keep manifesting and she's discovering new things about herself.  She's not sure what to think of all of it but is very curious to learn more, which brings her into some difficult situations.  She's pretty street smart though and knows better than to just trust anyone.  When she starts having some visions and a forbidding feeling, she feels like she's just waiting for something awful to happen. 

This leads to the mystery.  We know something might happen because she has these visions so through the story we're right with her, looking over her shoulder, being suspicious of everyone.  And I was pretty happy with how the mystery played out.  I didn't guess, at least not for sure, until the end.  And I felt like the clues dropped were pretty perfect, enough to get the curiosity up. 

There's a romance in the book and what could be construed as a love triangle.  If you do call it a love triangle, it wasn't one that really bothered me.  I felt like it was clear who she liked of the two and that she was somewhat pushed into situations with the other and while she had fun, she clearly wasn't 'feeling it'.  It was a slow romance for sure as things didn't progress much.  They slowly got to know each other and came to care for each other.  This is something I'm anxious to see in the next book. 

I feel like there's so much to talk about in this review and it's getting so long, so I'm going to cut it short and just say that I really loved the whole feel of the book.  It took me a little to become completely submerged, but once I did I read nearly straight through.  According to GoodReads this is the first in a series and I will be eagerly awaiting the next!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.


  1. I'm planning to read this soon and I'm really looking forward to it-sounds absolutely delightful!

  2. This is on my TBR pile, but it looks like I have to push it up to the top! I love 1920s NYC books, and even more so, magician-type ideas. Anna sounds like a great character, with her loyalty to her mother. I'm really curious about the romance. Lovely review Candace, thanks for sharing!


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