Book Review: The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway Magic and Mystery – a Great Mix

The Magician’s Daughter

By Judith Janeway

227 pages

Magician Valentine Hill can make lots of things disappear and reappear. Unfortunately that talent does not apply to the thing she wants most in the world. No amount of magic can produce her missing birth certificate. Without it, she doesn’t know the place or year she was born, and is skeptical her con artist mom told her the right day of her birth either. The only thing she has been told about her father is that he is a magician.

She was raised with a mother that could step into any role from socialite to barfly depending upon the lifestyle of her current husband. She forced her daughter into the role of accomplice in a series of elaborate cons. She lived a nomadic life, always moving on, changing names and living with a new husband that Valentine was instructed to call “uncle”. This life blew up when Valentine was in her early teens so she moved in with her Aunt June. That was nine years ago, and the last time she saw her mother. June straightened her out by teaching Valentine the rules that she now lives by:

  1. Never lie
  2. Never swear
  3. Never hit anyone – unless they hit you first

Purely by chance, she meets someone that can give her a clue as to where her mother is. She’s been searching for the elusive Elizabeth Hill since her Aunt June died. This could be the break she needed to locate her and somehow make her give up the information about her birth that Valentine needs.

Instead of finding her mother, she finds trouble. And a dead body.  The chain of events that follow are faster than a street magician’s hands. Before she knows it, Valentine is mixed up with mobsters, FBI agents and a very dangerous operation that could stop her search – forever.

The Magician’s Daughter is the first in the series of three Valentine Hill Mysteries. This cozy series had me hooked from the first chapter. I love Valentine. She is spunky and smart. The pain she reveals about her past and the search for her birth details give depth to her character. The supporting characters are interesting, unusual and some of them are not who they seem to be. At one point, Valentine describes them as “What is with this family? All of them are gun-carrying crazies. Scary crazy at that…”.

That tiny snippet of dialog spotlights the humor Janeway masterfully weaves into the plot. Just when you think you’ve figured out the next turn, she throws a smoke bomb on your theory with the grace of a natural magician – or I should say a very skilled writer. The nail-biting end comes to a satisfying conclusion, wrapping up the story right before the last chapter. But wait! There’s more! There is nothing better than a mystery that continues to the last pages and answers all the reader’s questions.

I wanted this book to be longer, because the characters and story were so interesting. But knowing there are two more in the series coming soon is my consolation prize. I’ll be watching the bookstores to snatch up book two before the ink dries.

Summer will be here soon and this is the perfect beach/vacation read.. If you can’t wait that long, take it on Spring Break. The Magician’s Daughter is a great anytime read. You won’t be disappointed, and everyone could use a little magic in their life.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.


Filed under Book Review, magic, magician, Mystery, poisoned pen press, series

3 responses to “Book Review: The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway Magic and Mystery – a Great Mix

  1. Ooow. That one sounds good. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is! Hope you Enjoy


  3. Thank you for this review. I was not aware of the book and not familiar with Judith Janeway, but I am now eagerly looking forward to reading it. You did an excellent job of convincing me to add it to my reading list – thank you!


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