San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn't see it that way...until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian's eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.
As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack's increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history's most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.
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Customer ReviewsSee All
Illusions verses reality
“The truth changes with how you perceive it”
“The magic is in the memory”
This is fiction set in history. This is history seen in a fictional format. Charmaine Kitteridge London was author Jack London’s second wife, his muse, his secretary, his editor, his love. And she, brought up in a household of “free love”, doted and depended on him, ran his household with help from his sister Eliza, reigned him in when she could, popped his grandiose dream filled alcoholic rattled bubbles, fought for what was and mourned what could be.
This is a fictional review of the last of their lives together from 1915-1917, and a look forward for this strong woman. Throughout the whole book, we see a series of illusions: Jack London the wealthy adventurer maintained over the realities of Jack London, the alcoholic,uremic old-before-his-time man. Charmaine, the daughter of free love, brought up Bohemian but choosing the helpmeet role, defending her Jack through numerous infidelities, making his deadlines even after his death,a co-defendant wife. Eric Weiss:aka Harry Houdini; enigmatic. mysterious , some might say thrill seeking; who is loyal to his wife and his country while dallying with others’ minds and hearts in a magical way. And Bessie (Weiss) Houdini: a woman who never grew up, but much like Charmaine, defends her home and family with the wisdom of a woman far beyond her years while seeking alternatives in her own illusions of dolls, maintaining separateness from Houdini, and telling fantastic stories that these days, might even have made her a highly sought dystopian author.
Some VIP once told me that Magic is a change of perception and that’s why we all have it within us. The question then becomes what IS reality and, in turn, what IS illusion. This is a highly readable and recommended book. 5/5
[disclaimer: I received this book through the GoodReads Giveaway program but in no way has that affected my review, which is honest and solely my own views]