Born of Illusion
Anna has traveled the country assisting her mother, the famous medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her performances and private séances. When the duo lands a permanent gig in New York City, Anna hopes that this is their chance to settle down and lead a normal life. But Anna has a secret. Unlike her actress mother, Anna possesses genuine powers to sense people’s emotions and foresee the future. Since meeting Cole, the mysterious young man who lives downstairs, Anna has experienced heightened visions. She fears that her mother is in danger.
"But more than the stock YA love triangle, the fraught relationship between mother and daughter takes center stage."
Anna is no stranger to the perils of her peculiar profession. She has often had to bail Marguerite out of prison after holding illegal séances. Fortunately, Anna is a born escape artist, lending credence to the rumor that she is Harry Houdini’s illegitimate daughter. Still, nothing can prepare Anna for the danger as she faces rival mediums and other threats. Does Anna have any chance at a normal life? Does she even want a normal life?
As she befriends Cole, Anna is introduced to the Society for Psychical Research. A secret organization with such members as Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the SPR investigates mentalists and mediums like her. Anna may have to reveal her secret abilities if she ever wants to master them. If only she knew who she could trust.
Added to the mix is Owen, the charming and handsome cousin of Marguerite’s business manager. Owen is Anna’s affable escort in Jazz Age society, showing Anna a world of flappers, speakeasies and bootleg gin. But more than the stock YA love triangle, the fraught relationship between mother and daughter takes center stage. Though Anna has an undeniable talent for magic, she’s forced to hold back --- never to outshine her mother. Anna’s loyalty and love is tested when her mother needs her the most.
Teri Brown gives a captivating glimpse of 1920's New York, complete with iconic sights of Broadway lights, legendary restaurants and a parade of fashion. Get ready for an inside tour of the culture’s fascination with mediums and the occult during the interwar years.
Reviewed by Emma Kantor on June 25, 2013