The Vanishing Trick – Jenni Spangler

Illustrations: Chris Mould

Stars: *****

The Vanishing Trick is a magical, mystical novel set in the Victorian era. Each character is authentic to the era and come together brilliantly to create an eerie mystery that will keep you turning the pages.

Leander, an orphan, has to keep himself alive; he has only himself to look out for and no-one to look out for him. Mrs Smart, the housekeeper of the estate he stays at, is unkind to him and he feels he’s not wanted anywhere. Soon, he needs money for food.

He meets Madame Pinchbeck who offers him money for his locket. The only thing he owns from his mother. Leander doesn’t want to sell it, so when he returns with other things to sell and Mrs Pinchbeck offers him a job, he can’t resist. He soon realises what a mistake this was!

With the help of Charlotte and Felix, other unfortunate children captured by the cunning Mrs Pinchbeck, Leander must work to break free from the mysterious woman and her unusual Vanishing Trick.

The Vanishing Trick is full of action and adventure which keeps you intrigued from start to finish. Mrs Pinchbeck is a gloriously nasty villain who is enchanting and repulsive in equal measure. She creates drama throughout the book with clever plots and plans.

Leander, Felix and Charlotte have an interesting dynamic which is forced to change throughout the story in order for them to endure their capture. They each react to every situation in their own way, having to find their feet in the new life that has been thrust upon them, not chosen. You felt for Felix, fighting disappointment in each new village they visit and still no sign of his brother. You hoped Charlotte would overcome her anger at being taken to find a way to escape. You wished Leander would find someone to show him affection, other than Mrs Pinchbeck who wanted to use him, no love him.

I loved the Victorian setting, with the added mystical edge. It created an eerie atmosphere (and I could definitely see this making an incredible film!) that added intrigue to an already exciting story. It was well-paced and kept me wondering throughout.

*Review Copy 😊*

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