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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moonlight and Illusions by Diane Wylie

Moonlight and Illusions by Diane Wylie
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (292 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Water Lily

Illusionist Stephen Elliott performs dazzling magic feats to crowded theaters around the world. In Mexico, an old woman presses an ancient Mayan relic, giving him the stone and a mysterious warning with no explanation. Stephen violates that warning and must hide his secret from the world. He’s become a person no one can explain or understand. Sleight of hand becomes real magic, and moonlight becomes essential. Stephen is cursed, alone…and immortal.

From her seat in the twenty-second row, Anabel Bernier recognizes with a jolt the handsome star of the magic show. World War II and the passage of time did nothing to dim the burning memory of her moonlight encounter with the charming Stephen Elliott and his Mayan relic on the deck of the USS Hope. Finding him again twenty years later stirs up more questions than answers. Can she trust that he is telling the truth? Could the stone and moonlight have affected her too? Now their lives are inextricably entwined. If she helps Stephen, she could lose him forever.

Unexplained events, secrets, and powerful magic threaten their second chance at a future together. But how long would the future be? Minutes? Days? Years? Forever? Terrible choices could lead to unthinkable consequences for Stephen and Anabel. The mysterious Mayan relic holds the key.

Don’t take candy, or companion spirits, from strangers. Most kids have been given that advice about candy. Candy from strangers carries the possibility of danger. Companion spirits carry a bit more than the possibility. Illusionist magician Stephen Elliot could have benefited from that advice and its corollary. If you do, by chance, take the companion spirit (or candy), follow the accompanying rules; the unspoken ones (don’t eat the candy) and the spoken ones (don’t expose the spirit to moonlight). If you don’t, you’ll suffer the consequences.

Stephen didn’t mean to break the rules, but sometimes intent doesn’t matter. There are still consequences.

Moonlight and Illusions is a book that hums a familiar tune: love works in the strangest ways. Still, I would have liked to have seen the scenes and experienced the consequences paid by Stephen and his family following the Companion’s exposure to moonlight. There’s a lot of story that gets glossed over. It may be back story since the main plot involves his relationship with Anabel Bernier, but there are chapters of back story and a few of the missing scenes are referred to repeatedly. I’d have happily exchanged some of the present day “maybe I love him, maybe I don’t” scenes for the much more interesting experience of watching the consequences unfold and seeing the realization of those consequences dawn on Stephen and his family.

Ms. Wylie does a fabulous job with setting—Mexico, battle fields, hospital ships, Mayan ruins. She's a master at incorporating the reader’s senses to transport them to each time and place. Moonlight and Illusions is a fun, captivating read, but it could have been truly amazing. I’ve read other books by Ms. Wylie and know she has the talent to pull it off. Delving a bit deeper into the curse/promise of the stone would have made this book sing instead of simply humming. Still, I recommend this book for what it is—a satisfying, descriptive romance with a paranormal twist.