By Frank Peretti
In Stores Now
I was first introduced to the supernatural best-sellers of Frank Peretti as a teenager living in Michigan. “This Present Darkness,” his first work for adults, was published in 1986 and spent almost three years on the best-sellers list. The novel details the spiritual warfare taking place in the fictional town of Ashton. As a young person, although I knew it was fiction, it still was very influential in how I came to perceive the unseen battle between good and evil that is going on around us every day.
Over the years, Peretti has written several more best-selling novels, as well as non-fiction books and a teen series, but I had never read any of them except 1989’s “Piercing the Darkness,” the sequel to “This Present Darkness.” In large part that was because as I became an adult and started my career and a family, my free time for reading virtually evaporated.
It is only in the last few years that I have really gotten back into reading, and I still don’t have near the time I would like to spend on reading. But once I saw that Peretti had a new book on the way, I knew I had to read it. “Illusion” is Peretti’s first novel in seven years, and for longtime fans, it was well worth the wait. “Illusion” is a love story disguised as a mystery with a twist of sci-fi.
Dane and Mandy were a middle-aged couple who were very much in love. Brought together by their mutual love of magic, the veteran magicians were ready to retire when a tragic car accident claimed Mandy’s life. Or did it?
A very confused Mandy wakes up in the present as the 19-year-old young woman she was in 1970 while a very distraught Dane is mourning the loss of his beloved wife. Her confusion and disorientation lands her in the local mental ward until she discovers the ability to pass through solid objects and avoid detection. She escapes the hospital and finds herself living in a halfway house performing street magic, trying to piece together who she really is and what has happened to her.
As Dane struggles to rebuild his life without his wife, he happens upon a young woman who looks a lot like his late wife performing street magic. He immediately feels drawn to her, and offers her some magic tips.
As time passes, Dane begins to believe that this girl really is his wife, but how can that be? Mysterious forces are interested in Mandy’s time-travel, dimension-hopping abilities, putting her life in danger. But do these people know what happened to Mandy and can they help Mandy and Dane discover the truth?
Unfortunately, I can’t say much more about the plot without spoiling things for you, but I loved that Peretti had some kind of explanation and story behind the mystery, rather than just saying, “It happened.” You definitely need to read “Illusion” and find out for yourself what happened to Mandy.
Dane and Mandy are two very likable characters. You can’t help but sympathize with their challenges as Peretti does a great job of letting you feel what the characters are going through – Dane’s sorrow, Mandy’s confusion, the love they had for each other. As the great writers do, Peretti lets the reader immerse themselves in the world of Dane and Mandy.
I loved “Illusion.” Peretti masterfully combines suspense, romance, humor and mystery into a fast-paced story that will keep you reading. Now that I have been reminded how much I enjoy Peretti’s books, I have to go back and read his novels that I had missed over the years.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give Illusion a 4.5.