The Magician’s Daughter
Poisoned Pen Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (04/16)
In “The Magician’s Daughter” by Judith Janeway, we meet Valentine Hill, a magician who does not know too much about the truth of who she really is. Her mother, a con artist, would make up stories about Valentine’s past, including her age, depending upon which man in her life she was conning at the time. Valentine was told that her father was a magician, but she did not know his name. In fact, she didn’t even know her own birth date or place of birth. Not having a past, prevents Valentine from truly being able to live in the present, because not having a social security number also means she always has to work for cash.
Separated from her mother for over nine years, Valentine is raised by her aunt, who taught her about integrity. In spite of the abuse and neglect she experienced at the hands of her mother, Valentine still hopes to track her down and find out the truth about when and where she was born. After one of her shows in Las Vegas, a father and daughter approach her because she looks so much like a woman that is in their life. Valentine quickly realizes that the woman is her mother. Valentine takes off to find her mother in San Francisco, and things get really turbulent.
People enter Valentine’s life to try to help her. She has to figure out which ones are really there to help her and which ones could hurt her. When an FBI agent who befriended her is tortured and murdered, Valentine is determined to get involved and solve the mystery. Using her photographic memory and her ability to quickly sum people up, Valentine is on the case and in spite of the danger that she faces, she goes all out to catch the “bad guys.”
“The Magician’s Daughter” by Judith Janeway is definitely a book that you won’t want to put down. I read it in one sitting! The writing is captivating and engaging and I enjoyed Valentine’s character and her determination to overcome the internal obstacles presented to her by her past. I also liked her attraction to the bad boy, and found their mutual attraction to each other added a lot of spice to the story. I look forward to reading more of the Valentine Hill mysteries.