Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister

Tonight, I will do the impossible. ~ Opening of The Magician's Lie


Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2015
Fiction (Historical); 320 pgs
Source: E-Copy provided by Publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Magic of all kinds fascinates me. Whether the kind you find in fantasy novels or the more realistic illusionist kind, which is what you find in The Magician's Lie. Set in the late 19th century, The Magician's Lie is a novel about survival at all costs. The Amazing Arden, the country's most notorious illusionist, has one night to convince small town police officer Virgil Holt to let her go after her husband has been found murdered.

The Magician's Lie felt less like a mystery to me than it did a rags to riches sort of story, with suspense built in. The now famous Arden begins her story in childhood, taking the reader through her beginnings up through her successful career. She talks about the hardships she faced, including her relationship with her mother, her cousin Ray, and her broken heart. Her stage name of the Amazing Arden suits her. She is a resilient and clever, creative and thoughtful. The novel is set up so the reader is unsure whether to completely trust Arden as she shares her story with Virgil. How much, if any, is just a story she is telling to get out of her current situation? Or is it all true? Virgil is skeptical and yet a part of him wants to believe. For if her story is, in fact, true, perhaps she has something to offer him he desperately needs.

I found it impossible not to root for Arden all along the way. I understood her reluctance to love again, her strong belief in self-reliance, and her fear of the shadows of her past. As for Virgil, I felt for him too. He is in a difficult position, having lost hope, but wanting to find that hope again. He is at a crossroads, as is Arden.

The author's attention to historical detail shines through in capturing the mood and tone of the day. I especially liked that she interspersed truth with fiction, with a nod to the famous female illusionist Adelaide Hermann, who makes an appearance in the novel. Greer Macallister's writing is compelling, and perhaps infused with a little magic of its own the way the book kept me under its spell.


To learn more about Greer Macallister and her work, please visit the author's website.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

20 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. Macallister has a new one coming out in 2017 about a female Pinkerton detective--and I want it. :)

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    1. Jenclair - I am really excited about her next book too. It sounds even better. :-)

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  2. I enjoyed reading this book. What most intrigued about this story is aside from the magic theme, the historical setting and the characterisation all made it a wonderful read. I'm definitely looking forward to this author's next release.

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    1. Melody - I am glad you enjoyed this one too! I loved the historical aspects of this book most as well. Such a good read.

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  3. I'm not big on magic in fantasy novels but I do love illusionists. This sounds great!

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    1. Kathy - If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend you give this on a try. The tiny element of fantasy that you may find here is so subtle and minor, it is easy to dismiss and right off.

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  4. This sounds good! I saw a movie years ago called The Prestige that I really enjoyed and my favorite part was seeing the behind the scenes of the magicians. I love the sound of Arden and she definitely sounds like a character to connect with. This has been on my maybe list for awhile but I think I need to read it!

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    1. Katherine - I really enjoyed The Prestige too! It's so fascinating, the behind the scenes look at illusions and magic. I think you might like this one and hope you do read it!

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  5. Aaahhh Wendy, I love the books you're reading! So out of my reading bubble but at the same time they sound just like my thing ;___; this sounds so atmospheric! Thank you for the concise review!! I'm taking note of the books you've read and reviewed! :D

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    1. Nina - Ah, thanks so much! Atmospheric is a good word for this one. :-) I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this one, but I ended up really liking it.

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  6. This looks like such a good read! I haven't read much mystery but I may have to check this one out
    Great review :)

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    1. Jenn - Thank you! I hope you do give this one a try. It's so good.

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  7. Great review, Wendy! This one sounds charming! While I'm not usually a fan of fantasy I love a good historical setting.

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    1. Iliana - Thank you! It's not a fantasy novel, so you do not have to worry about that aspect. It's very much grounded in reality. :-)

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  8. Oh, I need to read this one! I greatly enjoyed your excellent review of the book, Wendy! You give enough of the plot background without including major spoilers, and I really like your take on Arden! She sounds like a very engaging heroine!

    Since I'm fascinated with all kinds of magic myself, I'm adding this novel to my Goodreads shelves!

    Thanks for your insightful thoughts!! <3 :)

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    1. Maria - Thank you. That's kind of you to say. I really enjoyed this one and am glad I took a chance on it. Arden is a very interesting character. I hope you enjoy it if you do read it.

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  9. Oh I love books like this, when it's hard to tell if the reader can trust the protagonist. Sounds like an interesting story.

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    1. Christy - It really is an interesting story. Arden was such an interesting character. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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  10. Magician's Lie sounds good and I like it when an author pays attention to historical details.
    I've been away from blog land for a few weeks and am slowly catching up. I like your new blog look!

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    1. Naida - I do too! It really brings the setting to life when an author does.

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