Today I am delighted to share with you an exquisitely dark and eerie debut from Jenni Spangler, ‘The Vanishing Trick,’ stunningly illustrated by Chris Mould. When Leander is tricked – by the beguiling Madame Pinchbeck – into handing over his most prized possession little does he realise he’s about to be drawn into a unfortunate and twisted adventure. He soon discovers he isn’t the only child to be fooled by her kindness when Charlotte and Felix mysteriously appear out on thin air. In a world where reality is far from normal, they must find a way to outwit the sinister Madame Pinchbeck before it’s too late…
When I picked up this book to read, I fully intended just to read a few chapters. Instead I was drawn into this original and dark drama and devoured it in one afternoon. Cleverly told from the perspectives of the three children, Jenni takes us into the very heart of their feelings where we discover their innermost secrets and vulnerabilities. Madame Pinchbeck has preyed on these children who have lost all hope using their lack of family bonds to manipulate and control them. Despite their obvious dislike of her they still seek her approval and are blinded by the small crumbs of kindness she throws at them. Felix is especially fixated by her, he wants to help the others escape but feels an extraordinary loyalty to this terrible woman.
Not only has Jenni created the most compelling characters, she has surrounded them with a world filled with the most believable magic. Nothing seems fantastical about Madame Pinchbeck’s malevolent power which she uses to trap and summon the children on a whim. The lack of control is terrifying for them, living in a constant state of not knowing what will happen next and fearing the consequences if they displease her. The setting is just glorious. By choosing the Victorian era she plays on their superstitions around ghosts and medics making the story feel even more real for the reader. Having Chris Mould as the illustrator is an inspired choice, he captures the eerie and sinister nature of this book brilliantly. A truly original and captivating story which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and special guest posts.
Thank you to Olivia and Simon and Schuster for sending me a gifted copy of this book and inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘The Vanishing Trick,” is released on April 30th and is available to pre-order online or from you local bookshop.