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jenryland

jenryland

Born of Illusion - Teri Brown I love historical fiction and was incredibly excited to read this book. I mean, 1920s New York? A girl who is supposed to be Houdini's illegitimate daughter? In the end, there were things I enjoyed about Born of Illusion, and other things that struck me as somewhat less than magical.My favorite part of the book was Anna's relationship with her mother, which was … complicated. Anna's mother is a spiritualist and Anna resents the way that her mother uses trickery and manipulation to make people think she can talk to the dead. Anna, on the other hand, has the ability to "read" people by touching them but wants to be a magician. So Anna has psychic ability but wants to do magic tricks, while her mother uses magic tricks to make people think she has psychic abilities. Their relationship was pretty dysfunctional -- they almost seemed more like competitive sisters than a mother and daughter.I also liked the mystery surrounding the identity of Anna's father. Anna's mother tells her that she's Houdini's daughter, but the book definitely raises some doubts about that. This ambiguity was interesting -- Anna's mother is clearly a person who has no qualms about telling people what they want to hear. I also wish the romance had either been ramped up or left out altogether. I didn't find either of the guy in the book's quasi love triangle particularly compelling and there was little suspense over who one she'd choose.While I don't always go into a historical novel expecting a fast-paced, action-packed read, the plot dragged until the very end. The book was always hinting that something interesting was going to happen, but it wasn't until the last few chapters that anything dramatic transpired. Even then it was a black moment I've seen in many romantic supense novels. Given the magic themes and the paranormal elements and the amount of time I had to wait, I was expecting an ending with more … oomph. Recommended for fans of magic and historical fiction; readers who liked this book should also try In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters.