Illusion by Stephanie Elmas ** Blog Tour Review & Giveaway**
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.
In this novel, Stephanie Elmas conjures up a mysterious, dark story full of larger than life characters. There is a real Gothic feel to it, with Tamara apparently doomed to be tied in marriage with the wicked Lord Cecil. Shut away in his forbidding house at Dovesteads, you feel her helplessness as she tries to come to terms with life there, with her cruel husband. I particularly enjoyed the way life in Victorian times was described, with lots of details, especially showing life in the East End. The whole story goes along at a cracking pace.
At times, you feel how aptly named the novel is as you are never quite sure what is going to happen next. Walter's potions and illusions cast a spell over events and you find yourself wondering just what is going to happen next and whether there is real magic at loose. Twists and turns and the unexpected make it such an enjoyable read and the cast of characters are great fun.
In short: vivid descriptions, exuberant characters and a darkly satisfying plot.
About the Author
You can follow Stephanie here: Website | Twitter
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Book Link: Amazon UK
Tracey at Carpe Librum is running a Giveaway for the duration of the Blog Tour from November 13-24th. To win a paperback copy of Illusion courtesy of Endeavour Press, follow this link to her blog.
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