After a wonderful weekend filled with good news, watching a thought provoking Jewish film (I'll review that tomorrow), visiting an incredible exhibit of the works of Dorothea Lange then later enjoying mint lemonade and the world's best grilled cheese sandwich, I have returned to the bland yet necessary Monday. However, my mind is still caught up in the sensual and magical world created by author Laurie L. Bolanos.
Simply put - you need to purchase Prince of Conjurers, preferably at Tubby and Coo's Mid City Bookshop in New Orleans, LA (that's where I purchased my copy, plus Candice and Rob are awesome!). The why . . . well, I'm about to explain just that.
Imagine, if you will, that Erik from Phantom of the Opera did not die, but rather followed Christine and Raoul to La Nouvelle-Orleans and watched their lives in agonizing obsession every day. Now, imagine then that Erik, to speed up his process of claiming Christine, marries a lovely woman of colour named Naomi, a la placage, to infiltrate Christine's home and report on the daily ministrations of the house. Have I gotten you interested yet?
Now, let's add this: in 2009, a woman named Julianna, fresh from a horrible divorce stemming from catching her husband, Simon, with her best friend, Monika, is barely keeping it together while living in New Orleans. She has no desire to truly move on yet has to in a dulled out way while fueled with prescriptions and alcohol. One night, while out with friends, a mild mannered man named Heath notices her bracelet and informs her that the bracelet has some history behind it. Julianna agrees to let Heath study the bracelet, all the while wondering if perhaps Heath has also an interest in her as well. One day, thanks to her psychic friend named Star, Julianna decides to partake in a ritual so as to see her past, only instead the ritual does much more than that. Suddenly, her life completely changes as she comes face to face with a legendary monster who becomes, literally, the love of her life.
Prince of Conjurers is well written and "keeps you guessing until the very end" style of book. Although I did figure out what was going on halfway, the book still took me by surprise several times. Bolanos has expertly woven the classic Phantom of the Opera with archaeology, history, spirituality, romance, mystery, and even a bit of humour, while set in the wonderful city of New Orleans, also known as my second home. Bolanos has a strong voice as she brings to life Erik, Julianna, Christine and Raoul, and even Marie Laveau, and places them in a game that was begun centuries ago.
I'll be returning to New Orleans in a matter of days (like that's a surprise). Out of all of the places I've ever visited, New Orleans is the "lover" I keep returning to. At one point, I told one of my publishers that every time I read a book set in New Orleans, my heart actually skips a beat. He just smiled via text.
Buy Prince of Conjurers. You won't be disappointed.