Newly arrived in the exciting Jazz Age–era New York City world of mentalists, mediums and séances, can Anna Van Housen hide her gifts from her jealous mother, even as her visions become more frightening? And is she really Harry Houdini’s illegitimate daughter?
Sixteen-year-old Anna, capable of tricks of illusion and escape and aware of her own growing extrasensory powers, is tired of being an assistant to her mother, Marguerite—a fraud who wants to be the world’s most famous medium. Brown ably depicts the tension between Marguerite’s jealous resentment of her daughter and Anna’s attempts at independence, as well as Anna’s confusion over the romantic intentions of two very different suitors. Indeed, characterization is a strength in this first-person narrative, in which the setting, New York City in the 1920s, is so richly drawn as to become a character in itself. Actual people, organizations and locations from the illusionist scene as well as abundant fashion details of the era immerse readers in rich historical context. Anna, able to communicate with the dead and see visions of the future, must figure out how to extricate both herself and her mother from separate kidnappings and finally learn whom she can trust.
With an eye-catching jacket cover, this wordy mix of magic, history and romance will appeal to fans of Libba Bray. (Historical fantasy. 13 & up)