Book 49 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from May 31 - June 07
Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly
Summary (via the book jacket)
Before escape artist Harry Houdini died, he vowed he would find a way to speak to his beloved wife, Bess, from beyond the grave using a coded message known only to the two of them. But when a widowed Bess begins seeing this code in seemingly impossible places, it becomes clear that Harry has an urgent message to convey. Unlocking the puzzle will set Bess on a course back through the pair's extraordinary romance, which swept them from the beaches of Coney Island to the palaces of Budapest to the back lots of Hollywood. When the mystery finally leads Bess to the doorstep of an enigmatic young photographer, she realizes that her husband's magic may have been more than just illusion.
In surprising turns that weave through the uncertain days of the dawn of the twentieth century and continue into the dazzling 1920s, Mrs. Houdini is a thrilling tale that will take you deep into the heart of one of history's greatest love stories - asking what drives people to believe in something bigger than themselves - even as it reveals the famous magician's most remarkable feat of all.
The book had a strong start and sucked me in with the pages turning quickly. Is this based on truth at all, did Houdini have a love child? I was curious enough to wonder while reading but not curious enough to research now that it's over.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"What she had once considered sinful did not seem wrong anymore. The routines of her new life - the wide-eyed stares of the men in the audience, the giggling late-night confessions of Anna and Doll in the bunk across from her - seemed not only harmless but honest and real. She had been looking for something during those hours she spent in the solitude of a church pew, but she had found it here instead, in Harry's smooth, unblemished face, and in the way he seemed to want her not for being smooth and unblemished but for being wonderfully complicated, emerging from the banality of her past life to something enthralling."
"When [her wedding ring] was polished it looked almost new, and Harry had the gold engraved inside with the word Rosabel, which would come to symbolize a time in their lives when everything was simplest, when a man could declare his love on a bridge in the middle of a humid night and everything usual or proper could be disregarded."