Review: Illusion by Stephanie Elmas

Synopsis: London, 1873.

Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck.  Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.

Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.  Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.

During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love.

Will he and Walter come to her rescue?

Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst.  Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara.

That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life. With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…

Filled with mystery, magic and larger than life characters, Illusion will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My thoughtsStephanie Elmas is a wonderful world builder. From the very start she captures the essence of life in London in the late 1800’s. Starting a bit slowly, this story quickly enthralls you and is hard to put down. With magic, mystery, captivating characters, and a hateful villain, I found this to be an overall fun read and fans of magic and historical fiction will enjoy this.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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