When two beautiful teenage stage magicians in World War II England meet a pair of handsome men who can do real magic, sparks fly. But is it illusion, or delusion? Opening-night jitters are nothing new for Phil and Fee Albion, who come from a long line of stage illusionists. The girls love to dazzle London audiences, but in the aftermath of the Blitz they’re bundled off to the countryside, where they’re safe from bombs and Nazis–and bored to pieces. Phil, always the passionate one, discovers a hidden college of real magicians led by the devastatingly handsome Arden. If only Phil can persuade these unworldly magicians to help England win the war! Daredevil that she is, she’ll risk anything to give her country a fighting chance, even if it means losing her heart . . . or her life.
This book really had a lot going for it, the whole plot was incredibly unique and was a clever idea. The characters were fantastic and these girls, especially Phil, were fantastic with very strong personalities that nearly jumped off the page. The time period and setting were also a fantastic aspect of the book. However, even though this probably could have been an amazing book, it just fell short in a few different areas.
I really loved Phil and her sister Fee. They are incredibly close and are truly best friends. I loved this closeness with them. While the narration is not in first person, Phil was most definitely the main character. This was good because she was a real spitfire with an enormous heart. Fee is more of a dreamer and spends more time dreaming about boys. The girls grew up with their family of magicians and learned the trade at an early age. They can put on a show at the drop of a coin and can entertain about anyone. Then the blitz happens and bombs begin raining down on London and her family decides to send the girls to the country while they go off to fight the war. But Phil is not down with this idea at all. She wants to do her part too! So when they get to the country and see this small little town that is completely oblivious to the war she decides she will do something and begins to put together a town guard. She opens the towns folks eyes to the war and this whole aspect of the story was brilliant. These are just regular people and Phil marches in demanding them to do something, they can’t all just sit there drinking their unrationed tea and sugar like there’s not a thing going on! You see, this little town has been ignored completely and they haven’t even received rationing books (or coupons, or whatever they’re called) like the rest of England. This part of the story was my absolute favorite as Phil gathers everyone up and teaches them fighting and stuff. Unfortunately it was mostly skimmed over because another aspect of the story came into play…
Now this is in the description, and it happens early in the story, so I suppose it’s not a real spoiler- but there are real magicians, yes, ones that do real magic, living in a castle nearby. This plot line really seemed to take over the story and while I thought it was creative and unique and I liked it, I surprisingly liked how things were going without it. But these magician’s have been faced with a threat and Phil is determined to help them and to open their own eyes as they are completely clueless to the war as well and they feel it’s not their business. But Phil, she thinks everyone should be doing their part in the war effort. But they have this big issue going on and Phil is determined to teach them how to defend themselves. So yes, now she’s training the townsfolk and the magicians. Of course the magician’s are a secret so she has to do it separately. And yes, that leads to this~ this book had too much going on. But yet until the last quarter I found myself a bit bored at moments.
Okay, the romance~ Yes, there is romance! The first one to fall in love (and yes, this is suppose to be real love) is Fee and it happens pretty much in the blink of an eye. Because the romance feels a bit background to everything else I was able to overlook the insta-love for these two. Phil also gets her romance but it’s a drawn out one because Phil starts out hating the guy and the guy hating her and all that. We see the guy has a rough past and doesn’t trust anyone and doesn’t believe in love and all that hoo ha. So through the book there’s lots of tension between them, but a lot of that is definitely sexual tension. And I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t love it either.
So the book is one of those books that’s a bit hard to rate. There were parts that seriously had me rolling in laughter and I haven’t done that in awhile, I loved it! But there were parts that had me a bit bored and I wanted more interaction with the towns people and Phil. The romance was good, but it didn’t make me squeal in happiness or anything. So parts of the book would be 3 stars for me and other parts are 4 stars for me. I guess 3.5 is the middle ground. I don’t really do half ratings anymore and I rated it 4 on goodreads, so I guess I’ll do that here as well. Just keep in mind, it’s more of a 3.5 star read.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.