A stunning new thriller from the father of Christian fiction—a grieving husband encounters a teen identical to his dead wife…in face, name, and magical skills.Dane and Mandy Collins have been a popular magic act for close to 30 years. In their late fifties, they plan to retire but their plans are devastated by a fiery car wreck. Dane awakens in a hospital and learns that Mandy is dead. As he reflects on their life together and how they first met at a magic show, we see nineteen-year-old Mandy in a flashback:
Mandy and two friends are visiting a county fair in Idaho when they happen upon a theater where a magician will be doing a show in an hour. While waiting to see the show, young Mandy appears to falls asleep, then awakes abruptly. She fell asleep in 1970; it is now 2010. Distraught, she is picked up by security personnel. She winds up in a mental hospital, where no one is sure who she is or where she came from.?
Mandy escapes from the hospital. Alone, penniless, and mystified by her circumstances, she takes shelter with a charitable family and begins eking out a dime by performing magic for anyone who will stop, watch, and leave a tip. She winds up doing a weekly magic act at a local coffeehouse.
A friend tells Dane there’s an act he ought to see. Dane has retired but agrees to watch the girl perform. He is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot readily explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this nineteen-year-old who is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met some forty years earlier.
When Mandy and Dane reunite, they must decide what their future is…and uncover the conspiracy behind their meeting; the strange, supernatural bent to Mandy's magic; and who is following them.?
Again, Frank Peretti has crafted a riveting novel full of twists and mystery. This rich, rewarding book depicts a love story that transcends time, space, and what's meant by “death” and “life.” Exceptionally well written,Illusion will soon prove another classic in Frank's impressive list.
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Howard Books
Three and a half stars: A love story that defies time and physics!
Our story opens with the unexpected death of Mandy, the magician, at age fifty nine. Mandy and her husband, Dane, are leaving Las Vegas, after years of performing as a successful magic act. The two are headed to Couer d' Alene, Idaho to retire on their new ranch. Unfortunately, Mandy will not make it back to her hometown. Tragedy strikes when their BMW collides in an intersection with another car and bursts into flames. Dane is unable to drag Mandy out quickly enough to avoid the burning licks of the hot flames. Mandy perishes at the local hospital. The grieving Dane returns to Idaho, alone. The clock rolls back to September, 1970. Back in time, we encounter a nineteen year old Mandy, at the local state fair. She is busy taking in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the fair with her two friends. She grabs a quick bite to eat before the magic show starts on the main stage. As she is leaning against a tree, eating her chicken basket, something strange occurs. One minute she is chewing chicken, watching people passing by, the next something is thrown over her head, like a large sheet. No, it is a hospital gown. Mandy tugs it down over her head to encounter a whole new world. Everything has changed and she finds herself sitting by the tree dressed only in a hospital gown. Mandy calmly tries to keep her wits about her, as she frantically searches for her father. Her efforts are to no avail. Eventually she is taken to the hospital. Things only get worse as she discovers that for whatever reason, she is now in the year 2010, but she is still the same nineteen year old girl. Mandy struggles to cope with the changes and understand what happened to her. Is she crazy? A few months later her path accidentally crosses with Dane's. The grieving widower wonders if he is losing his mind when he meets this girl, who looks like his deceased wife. Can love survive the convoluted twists of the fabric of time and defy all the odds as well as physics?
What I Liked:
- I thoroughly enjoyed the love story between Mandy and Dane. As a couple they lived almost forty years together, as they worked alongside each other, sharing the good times and bad. After Mandy dies and they meet again when Mandy is a strange time traveler, they don't recognize each other at first, but the deep love between them acts as a magnet drawing them together. Their love is true, pure and a bit magic. It was nice to encounter a love story that manages to defy all the odds.
- Mandy, I was charmed by her character. My heart went out to her when she finds herself somehow transported forty years into the future. She does her best to make lemonade out of her lemons, as her daddy advised her. Mandy, is one of those characters that you cheer for. I loved the endearing way she always called on her daddy's good advice. Mandy is a well written female protagonist by a male author.
- This book is a bit of a mystery, the best way for me to explain it is that it is like assembling a large complicated item and you can't find the instructions. You face the mountain of information dumped in front of you, and then you start trying to piece it all together. As you read, you find yourself scratching your head, wondering what on earth happened to Mandy. You struggle for the entire first half of the book trying to make sense of it all. Thankfully, midway the author throws you the instructions and then you can begin to make heads and tails of the strange events. All I can say is be prepared, the explanation defies time and physics as you know them.
- This book is creative and imaginative. It has a very complicated plot, so heads up when you read this one. If you like a good sci-fi book then you should check this one out.
And The Not So Much:
- This book is long, it comes in just under six hundred pages. So, do not delve into this one unless you have time to stick with it. There are so many story lines and things to keep track of, that if you put it down for awhile and then return, you may be lost.
- As I mentioned earlier, this book is confusing in the beginning, but when the explanations start pouring in, it is a lot to digest and keep track of, pay attention or you will be in the dark.
- This book has some religious undertones and references. They by no means are over the top, but I felt sometimes the religious interjections were a bit jarring. However, I can see why the author probably chose to incorporate them, because the root of the story is that man has no business playing God.
- The author uses numerous points of view, and often time the view point would switch from paragraph to paragraph, sometimes to a completely new character. I found this shifting horribly distracting and confusing. I wish the author had just maintained the two main view points of Mandy and Dane. Especially, since most of the secondary characters were underdeveloped.
- I was completely confounded by the sudden appearance of the lawyer, Seamus into the story. He just drops in, and Mandy all of a sudden completely trusts him. A more thorough explanation is needed on his background and involvement with Mandy.
Illusion is a book that will get inside your head and make you believe in the unbelievable. This novel blends science fiction with a great romance, that manages to survive insurmountable odds. Mr. Peretti carefully crafts two characters, Mandy and Dane, who will make you believe in true love. If you are looking for a complex book with a big mystery and lots of twists and turns then I recommend you check out Illusion.
"But it was my arm she took to go to parties; she wrote her love notes for me; she chose to share my future when I didn't even have one."
"Practice doesn't make perfect. It makes better."
"They all waved and drove off, some of the nicest people Mandy had had the pleasure to meet since the day she suddenly quit knowing anybody."
"And the smile fell from her face. It was just another lie anyway, another act on top of the one that got her here."
"She was the dream. The house was just a frame around the picture."
"They exchanged a look and kept watching, two more friends, two more human beings touching her life as she touched theirs."
"Frost had withered the flowers, blackened the fallen leaves, and now lay thick and crusty in the hollows and dark places. The lawn crunched under his feet."
"Her eys were playful, then teasing, then full of wonder like a child holding a butterfly."
"Young lady, things can look a lot different from this end of your life."
"He never could have found her himself never could have known hers would be the kind of love that would last so long and still be so tenacious despite a gulf of age and memory."
"A moment, an eternity, passed, and there were no words."
A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Howard Books, in exchange for an honest review.