October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Belle Epoque and Born of Illusion

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

This week's WoW picks are:

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

"When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose."

Sometimes historical books can be a little stuffy, but this one just sounds like a lot of fun! Love the idea of the "beauty foils" (were there actually such agencies back then?).

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

"Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?

Born of Illusion is the first book in a new series. Each book in the series will introduce a new historical figure, whose legend is shrouded in magic, along with the young woman whose fate is irrevocably tied to his. The through line in each of the books will be The Ghost Club, the real life secret society that was founded in 1862 by the likes of Charles Dickens, Sir Conan Doyle, and W. B. Yeats to advance mankind’s knowledge of the paranormal. The first three books in the series will deal with Houdini, Aleister Crowley and Rasputin."

I'm sticking with the historical theme here. The premise of this one reminds me very much of Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey, but the scope of the series as a whole seems much broader (and rather ambitious!). I'm interested to see how the author ties everything together. (Is it just me, though, or is the girl's eye on the cover kinda creepy?)


  1. Born of Illusion sounds AMAZING!!!! I want to read it *right now*. Also, I love the concept of the series - I totally squealed when I read that it would include Rasputin in one of the books. I did an essay on him in grade 12 and he is just so fascinating and mysterious. I think historical fiction would really suit him. Thanks for introducing me to this exciting new series!

  2. Born of Illusion sounds super cool! This sounds like an out of the ordinary YA historical and I can't wait for a chance to read it!


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