Reviewed by Christen Krumm

Who is Mandy Whitacre? She thinks she is a 19-year-old living in 1970, who has been transferred to the twilight zone, but when she wakes up in a hospital she is confused to see the calendar read 2010. Spokane County Medical Center’s staff thinks she is a mentally insane woman with no records—no driver’s license, no birth certificate, and no living relatives. Dane Collins thinks she looks uncannily like his late wife did…40 years ago. Would the real Mandy Whitacre please stand?

Frank Peretti’s latest novel, Illusion, follows Mandy as she tries to discover who she really is. She finds a home with a family that rehabilitates women, changes her name to Eloise Kramer, and tries to make money as a magician. Shockingly, she discovers an impossible ability within herself—she can move objects mentally. After getting a gig at a local café, her repertoire of amazing magic tricks astounds costumers and helps her make a more-than-modest living.

Enter Dane Collins. The 60-year-old popular magician is mourning his wife, who recently passed away in a tragic car accident. His friend convinces him to meet Eloise, and when he watches the talented young woman perform, he is struck by her resemblance to Mandy, his wife. When he begins mentoring her, he loses his ability to see her as anyone other than Mandy Collins…but that is impossible. For Mandy to discover who she really is, she will need to learn the secrets of her past. These secrets lead to dark, disturbing nightmares…but they are her only hope to discover her true identity.

In the back of Illusion, Peretti’s author’s note summarizes the novel’s far reaching symbolization: “Being lost in this weird and sinful world, trying to discover who we are and where we belong.” As I read Illusion, its 497 pages flew by. Frank Peretti’s fast paced style held me captive while his deeply personal glimpses into the characters’ hearts touched me deeply.

Illusion is a must-read for the Christian suspense/romance lover—seriously, run out and buy this book now!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Christen graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith with a BA in English. She’s a coffee drinking stay at home mom by day and a freelance writer/editor by night. She currently resides in Arkansas with her husband and daughter and is excited to welcome a son in August.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Howard Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.