I saw the Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister as one of the past selections from Book of the Month Club (click the banner and use "Summer30" for 30% off 3 months). Whoopi Goldberg was the judge for that month, but I had not been part of the club yet and I couldn't pull the trigger on buying the book.
The following week, the book was on an ebook sale, so I thought that fate was throwing me at this book. I took it with me on a work trip and decided to read the whole thing during that trip.
The difficult part was the book was the second book that dealt with abuse against women that I had read. It was something that I was not expecting and after having just finished a book that also had abuse, I wasn't feeling well after reading this one.
The book is about the rise of the Amazing Arden the second female magician of the late 1800s to early 1900s. We follow her life as she moves from a dancer to one of the greatest magicians of her time. She rivals men's tricks and amazes audiences. She is on top of the world, in love, and raking in money until her past catches up with her.
It is also about the murder of her husband, who is laying in the bottom half of one of her greatest tricks, where she uses an ax to cut a man in half. It appears as if she has killed her husband on stage in front of a live audience. She is arrested and interrogated. The book moves back and forth from her interrogation to her story. The question is- which parts are true and which aren't?
I have to admit that I asked my wife- what's up with female authors and writing about abuse? Not because I am unaware of spousal abuse or am ignorant that abuse happens, but because I had finished another book with the same topic, also written by a female author. My wife's response was- does the book have a man that she cannot love because she has to be with the abuser? My response was yes. Her reply was- my dear, you just read a typical romance novel.
I will also admit that I did find some fault with the Amazing Arden's character development. Throughout the book, we see her character grow and get stronger, as she is haunted by the abuse she took as a teenager. That abuse drives her to become the best and the greatest. To me, toward the late part of the book, she once again becomes the Arden that isn't as strong or mighty. From my understanding though, this too can play out in abusive situations. Personally, though I wanted a stronger Arden who has lived, grown, and become the woman she became. I am avoiding spoilers, but should you read it, you will see what I mean.
There are long parts of this book that simply do not move the story forward or develop the character much. The characters though are rich and the story is well written. I found myself, even during the longer parts, desiring to know what is next. I gave this one 3.5 stars.
Here is the Amazon link- The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister