Born of Illusion

By Teri Brown
Published on June 11, 2013
Published by Baltzer and Bray
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?
Wow, this was not at all what I expected!  I am not sure why, but I assumed that since Born of Illusion was about mediums that it would be way creepier than it was- man was I wrong and I am so happy that I took the chance to read it.  Born of Ilusion follows the story of Anna who may or may not be the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini.  As you can read in the summary, Anna is surrounded my a very interesting cast of characters who are not exactly the best to her.

Anna is a fun character to read about.  She makes stupid mistakes but isn't totally dependent on others.  Anna has a good head on her shoulders and is a strong heroine who can figure problems out for herself.  I found myself really caring about Anna and hoping that things would turn out well for her.  Anna's mother... well she is a piece of work.  I am sure we will find out in the next book more about the history of how her mother came to be the way she is, but she will never win a "Parent of the Year Award".  There are two love interests in Born of Illusion, and I suppose technically it could be a love triangle.  It is pretty obvious who Anna really cares about, though, so it doesn't feel like the stereotypical love triangle.

Born of Illusion reminds me of some of my favorite magic movies like The Prestige and The Illusionist.  It is full of magic, mystery, and is a ton of fun.  It is the kind of book that you will read with fervor and won't be able to stop thinking about when you put it down.  I highly recommend it!

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