Christina and Devon are damaged souls both dealing with past tragedies that sometimes overshadow their present. When Ralph, a/k/a Reynaldo the Magnificent, recruits the young, tiny, attractive Christina to become his assistant in his street magic show, she figures it could lead her back into the world of magic and provide a way to hone her skills. Unfortunately, the dark side of Reynaldo the Magnificent surfaces, and Christina has decisions to make. Not one to shrink from a challenge or wilt away, the tenacious protagonist is determined to continue pursuing her dream.
Devon finds himself with time on his hands after he takes a break from his residency. He struggles with this self-imposed limbo as he ponders his future. “Without the routine of work, his days bled one into the next. He didn’t have the energy to impose a structure on his time off, and he was surprised when it was suddenly evening.” He dotes on his nephew, and he pursues Christina, whom he met by chance in the hospital. Both Christina and Devon are well-formed characters who readers can easily relate to. They struggle with past demons, they make mistakes, they dream, and they push on.
The book’s minor characters are also well-rounded. Devon’s aunt, uncle and delightful nephew, Christina’s employers who treat her like family and the owner of a magic shop that serves as Christina’s mentor are all realistic and distinct characters. The villain is also well-formed as his darkness slowly emerges through his actions and words
The descriptive writing and realistic dialog move the book along seamlessly. (“A coffee table that might have been rescued from a household of teething dogs.”) The backdrop of magic provides mystery and intrigue, and the tricks and juggling serve as vivid metaphors for the novel’s themes. I also enjoyed learning more about the art of magic. (I even checked to see if any magic shows were coming to my area after I finished this novel!)
This is a novel that will appeal to a wide range of readers, and I look forward to reading more from Laurie Boris.