Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary Collector’s print edition copy of “Illusions of Magic” direct from the publicity firm JKS Communications (of whom I also regularly review for) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why this title interested me to read:
I grew up watching David Copperfield on television – quite entranced by the art of illusion and the way in which magic can give us such a light of joy to observe. Illusion is meant to inspire and to entertain; never to harm or takeaway and I think that is what I loved about the art behind the acts so very much. In recent years, I’ve been re-inspired by the magical acts featured on America’s Got Talent – which is a variety act series I can either take or leave depending on the year. The reason I like seeing the new talent stepping forward is because there is such a lot of talent out there you might never get the chance to see; as they perform across venues and geographic locations. The series is a way in which everyone with a television or streaming capability can view the same act at the same time. In some ways, I think it draws everyone a bit closer; as we’re championing the talent, inspired by the acts themselves and leave the experience a bit more enlightened.
Of all the performers, one this past year truly touched my heart, as he took light and magic to a new height by combining it with illusion, theatrical interpretive dance and the joy of fusing heart into one’s act. The performer I am speaking about is Viktor Kee – although I am unsure how many would consider his act part of illusion when he has such a commanding presence on stage through the combined elements he puts into his artistry. To me, the illusion is the mastery of the elements – to create an experience for the observer that is not entirely part of our perception and transcends us into a different place if only briefly – to me his artistry is brilliant for how he evokes art out of passion. To see a video of his AGT performances, please visit his website and scroll down for the video.
When I first read the premise of the novel – there is just something about the plot and the setting being in Chicago that felt alluring in of it’s own. The winding down of vaudeville and the backdrop of the Great Depression is such a stimulating cross-section of where everyday people were trying to sort out the impossible: how do you go forward when even time itself appears to be standing still!?
The withering of vaudeville was bad enough in 1933. Because of the Great Depression, bookings for stage magician Nick Zetner disappeared. With his marriage cracking under the strain, Nick reluctantly accepts a devious banker’s deal: He earns a generous reward if he retrieves photos stolen during a break-in at the bank. Along the way, a love he thought he’d forever lost reappears. Despite his skill in the arts of magic, penetrating the realm of the thieves grows increasingly perilous, especially when it endangers his newfound romance.
Illusions of Magic seamlessly merges this tale with the true-life assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt resulting in Chicago’s mayor, Anton Cermak, being shot. His lingering death and a lack of legal means for his replacement causes great civic and social upheaval in the city.
In modern style, this novel propels the reader through emotional highs and subterranean lows with knife-edged dialogue, easy humor, page-turning action and authentic history.
Places to find the book:
Genres: Historical Fiction
Published by Gray Dog Press
on 17th April, 2016
Format: Paperback Edition
Published By: Gray Dog Press
Available Formats: Nearly exclusively E-book released; except for the Collector’s Print Edition
Converse via: #HistFic + #IllustratedStories
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge