Ada Bates escaped her torturous life at 14-years-old. Leaving her mother’s care in the middle of the night, she sets sail on a journey both ambitious and tragic. Rising from the lowliness of a servant at the famous Biltmore Estate in North Carolina to the stardom of the first female illusionist, selling out grand theaters around the nation. She maintains a life by creating magic for audiences while keeping up the illusion that she isn’t haunted by an evil past – one that could rear its head at any moment. Along the way she finds Clyde Garber, her manager and eventual love of her life.
The Amazing Arden, Ada Bates’s stage name, is known for her feat of sawing a man in half and then restoring him whole. However, the illusion goes awry when her husband turns up dead from the same wounds as her mesmerizing illusion. Trying to escape, she heads out in the dead of night and is accidentally captured by a local police officer. Now as she is hand-cuffed to a chair, she must recount her story — one that spans over 10 years — to prove her innocence. That tale is one wild ride to the truth – or is it a lie?
Since I’m a voracious reader, I don’t very often come across a book that I adore – and adore The Magician’s Lie I do! As soon as I turned the last page, I couldn’t wait to share this spellbinding story with my friends.
As a historical novel the book dives into a time when society was dominated by males, and yet the story centers around a female illusionist who captivates audiences, both men and women, with her talent. Her occupation alone keeps the reader riveted to Arden’s ever-deepening character. The story is told in a series of flashbacks that return to present day every few chapters. It’s interesting to note that much of the plot’s tension take place in the chapters where she recounts her story to a local law officer who is fighting his own internal struggles. A police station’s phone rings in the dead of night and both sit through the piercing rings while the reader wonders who is on the other end.
The plot was equal parts mysterious, creepy, romantic, and action-packed. The combination provides a riveting page-turning experience. This was one of those books where when I wasn’t reading it, I was wishing that I was. I couldn’t wait to get to the end, and then I was bummed when it was over. The point of view switches from Ada’s story to a movie camera’s view of the events occurring in the police station. Just when you think Ada is guilty, she shares a story that makes you believe in her innocence. All along though, she tells her side of things with a detached air that causes the reader to question its truth – maybe she was capable of killing her husband.
Readers will cheer for Ada from the moment she first loses the chance to escape her poverty stricken life and the clutches of Ray (winner of creepy character award). She is a survivor, and we love that she is a self-made women who works hard and dedicates herself to her craft. She is talented, beautiful, yet slightly dysfunctional. We want her to love and be loved and when her happiness begins to crash around her, we must flip the page to see if she can hold on to it.
The Magician’s Lie is Greer Macallister‘s debut novel. I guarantee readers will anxiously await the next book published by Macallister as the first one provides a unique thrill ride with characters to both love and hate. That’s a story to adore!