Author: Frank Peretti
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape. Alone in a strange world, she uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing magic on the streets and in a quaint coffee shop.
Hoping to discover an exciting new talent, Dane ventures into the coffee shop and is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this teenager who has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met and married some forty years earlier.
They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but even as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him, they are watched by secretive interests who not only possess the answers to Mandy’s powers and misplacement in time but also the roguish ability to decide what will become of her.
Frank Peretti has crafted a rich, rewarding story of love and life, loss and restoration, full of twists and mystery. Exceptionally well written, Illusion will soon prove another Peretti classic.
For a book to be given a 5 star rating with me, it has to grip me from the beginning and never let me go. This book had over 500 pages and I was gripped from start to finish. From the very first page, I was immediately entrenched in Dane’s pain of losing his wife of forty years and then dropped into a mystery of how his wife ended up as a 19-year-old girl in 2010.
Throughout the novel, Peretti painted a picture (how’s that for alliteration?) of Mandy and how she manages to practice her magic. She doesn’t know how she does it but somehow her and Dane (who remains his 60-year-old self) end up in the same town and she begins practicing at a local coffee shop. He takes her on as an apprentice because as crazy as he knows he may seem, she is his Mandy. Their relationship blossoms as Mandy’s career takes off. She has major skills, but Dane knows something else must be at work.
This story had so many twists and turns that every chapter, I was hesitating to see what would come next. I knew there had to be an explanation for why Mandy, who had died at age 59, was now in present-day as a 19-year-old (but swore she was born in 1959). I like stories that offer a crazy premise but then offer an even crazier explanation for it.
I don’t want to give any part of the story away but trust me when I say, this novel is a must read. It kept my attention from the get-go and never wavered. Peretti’s writing style gets into your bones and grips you from beginning to end. While there are Christian themes to the book, it’s never overdone or the main premise. It’s written in a way where you know this is a Christian writer, but he doesn’t bang you over the head with it. This was the first Peretti novel I have read and now I’m on a mission to read them all.
All in all, this book affected me deeply. There is so much to take in, so much to discuss, and so much I most likely missed. It’s a book worth a reread, and I’m not one to say that for many books.
The best part of all this is that I have a copy to giveaway to any of my readers! I’m so excited to be able to give this book away because it’s one I absolutely loved to my core and I think everyone should put it on their “to be read” list. To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post about the last book you gave a “5 star” rating to. The giveaway ends on Sunday, April 1st at 11:59PM EST and I will announce the winner on Monday, April 2nd. Good luck!
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for free, as well as one to give away, in exchange for a fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.