The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas.
A terrifying place for a young, beautiful woman of limited means. But Eliza is modern before her time. Not for her the stifling if respectable conventionality of marriage, children, domestic drudgery. She longs for more. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil – a born showman whose dream is to run his own theatre company.
Devil’s right-hand man is the improbably named Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. Carlo and Devil clash at every opportunity and it constantly falls upon Eliza to broker an uneasy peace between them. And then there is Jasper Button. Mild-mannered, and a family man at heart, it is his gift as an artist which makes him the unlikely final member of the motley crew.
Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life…
The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas.
We are very happy to welcome Rosie and her blog tour for The Illusionists which has just been released by HarperCollins. We chat to Rosie about her book, her fantasy dinner party guests and where in history she would like to go…
Can you tell us about The Illusionists and how did the idea originate?
In one sense The Illusionists is about imagination and reality, and I have taken stage magic as a means of illustrating how we don’t always know the difference between the two. Devil Wix, my anti-hero hero, is struck as a young boy by the gift of ‘wonder’ in a harsh world, and he sets out to create wonderment through magic and illusion. The setting is Victorian London, starting in the 1870s, so it’s quite creepy and gothic in places. It’s also a love story between Devil and Eliza Dunlop, who is a modern woman looking for more from her life than marriage and motherhood. There’s also a cast of strange characters including a dwarf, an engineer of automata, and a woman made of cogs and springs. Their theatre of magic and illusion, the Palmyra, is a character too. The idea for the story came to me when I was researching a classic ‘box trick’ for a scene in The Kashmir Shawl.
Which authors do you admire and is there a book that’s stuck with you?
I like Anthony Trollope. There’s so much sly wit and energy in his books, but he is full of human sympathy too and he doesn’t caricature the way Dickens does. I’ve always loved Georgette Heyer – such lightness and sparkle. Continue reading
Sphere, April 2014
A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews.
Ayesha flees her abusive husband in the middle of the night. Scared and alone, they go to London where they take shelter in the home of reclusive pop star, Hayden Daniels. Ayesha and her daughter Sabina soon find a family with the occupants of Hayden’s home. Crystal and Joy, the other people taking refuge in the house soon become Ayesha’s friends as she tries to find her feet and her new life for her and Sabina. However, she doesn’t stop looking over her shoulder wondering when and if her past was going to catch up with her.
This book tackles quite a dark subject of domestic abuse with sensitivity, warmth and humour. The characters drew me in from the first page as I wanted to know whether Ayesha and Sabina were going to be OK. At the beginning, Ayesha is very timid and very unsure of herself and I loved seeing how she progressed for the better through the book whilst she was with Hayden, Crystal and Joy.
The mix of characters were fascinating, funny and loveable. I especially thought Crystal was great. I want to be her friend. Despite the bad things in her life she still manages to be positive. I disliked Suresh immensely and although I am ashamed to say it, I still could feel little sympathy for him, even at the end.
A Place To Call Home is the fantastic new novel from Carole Matthews.
We’re very happy and excited to welcome the lovely Carole Matthews and her blog tour to Novel Kicks. Her latest book was released by Sphere on 10th April and we chat with Carole about it as well as what writing rituals she has and which fictional character she’d like to meet.
Can you tell us about A Place To Call Home?
Yes, it’s a story about a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and flees with her daughter. She ends up living with a rag-tag of characters in a place that she comes to feel safe. When that’s threatened she does everything she can to save it. The story is about finding a place to belong and making a family out of a fairly disparate bunch of people. It’s very heart-warming and a little bit teary too.
Do you plan and do you edit as you go?
Yes, I do a lot of planning and have a four or five page synopsis when I start out that I pretty much stick to. I start every morning by editing what I’ve written the day before and, then, when I’ve completed one draft, I go through it all again.