Honest Illusions eBook ↠ Trade Paperback

Honest Illusions From Book Lover Ami'The hero abandons the heroine without a word for a few years because he is being blackmailed and doesn't want her to be involved in the mess Unbeknownst to him while he is gone she is giving birth to and raising his child When he comes back he tells her that he was so miserable without her that he had to drown himself in alcohol and sex And that the alcohol helped kill the pain some but the sex helped I thought that was so bizarre that he would tell her about it like that I missed you so much I slept with thousands of women and it really helped And she just took it in stride and said something like I'll bet and took him back GrrrrIt was too bad too because there was a lot about the book I enjoyed like how the hero and heroine were raised together grew up fighting like cats and dogs but ended up falling in love But there's no getting around the fact that the hero was a bit of a man whore' Honest Illusions is uite simply Nora Roberts at her best And since romance novels don't get any better than Nora at the top of her game that's saying something When I first read this book as a novice romance reader in 1997 I was blown away Oh ding ding ding So this is why my sister reads these books Six years and a thousand plus romances later I found myself just as enthralled the second time around This one oh baby holds upMax Nouvelle is no everyday carnival side show magician He is The Great Nouvelle Conjurer Extraordinaire So when his practiced eye spies scrawny 12 year old runaway Luke Callahan deftly picking pockets in his audience what is Max to do but invite the boy for a post performance chatLuke is enthralled with Max's magic act and cannot resist an invitation to come backstage after the show There Max confronts Luke about his thievery; then surprisingly offers him a meal a bed and a job as a roadie Skittish Luke wants only to make a clean getaway until he meets the lovely and really really stacked Lily Bates Max's lover and magic assistant Luke falls a little bit in love with sweet warm hearted Lily and relaxes his guard enough to accept Max's offerThe only drawback is the presence of eight year old Roxanne Max's snotty little brat of a kid But with a setup this good Luke can deal with one small spoiled princess Besides she's promised to teach him card tricksIt's apparent to Max that Luke has been beaten and probably sexually abused by his emotionally absent mother's boyfriend When Lily sees the physical evidence on the boy's scarred back Max and Lily make the only decision they can; Luke is theirs now When the carnival moves on eventually arriving at the family home in New Orleans Max has conjured up the necessary paperwork to make Luke a permanent member of the family For the first time in his short life Luke learns what it is to love and be loved unconditionallyWith the summer tour over and Luke's plan to skip school altogether uashed life settles into a comfortable routine Luke has discovered his grand passion Magic His hunger to learn everything Max can teach him is exceeded only by his desire to outshine Roxy as competitive a soul as ever lived The Nouvelle Family act wows them in a French uarter nightclub and while their fame and fortune grow Luke and Roxy are growing up Their relationship roils and bubbles After all they aren't really brother and sisterDid I mention that Max Nouvelle is no ordinary carnival magician Max is a thief and a great one at that He suffers no moral ualms justifying the practice as an ancient and valuable art a time honored profession He steals only the finest from the wealthiest and Luke is a natural at the family business Max and Luke being men and all are under an illusion that Roxanne knows nothing of the real family business Roxy being a very clever girl has known all along and she wants in Max is incapable of denying Roxy anything and makes good on his promise to take her in after she finishes collegeIt seems that life couldn't be any better for this band of four They live in a gracious home in the Garden District and both of their busineses are thriving The Nouvelle family magic act has become bigger better and internationally acclaimed Roxanne has perfected a glittering montage of ethereal illusions and Luke's death defying escapes are knocking them dead Television specials and venues such as Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center have become the norm And then there are the meticulously planned dead of night forays into the homes of the Very RichWell okay maybe life isn't uite perfect Roxanne has adored Luke with all the passion in a little girl's heart romantic heart since she first laid eyes on him and she's been falling in love with him ever since Luke is and always has been her hero As for Luke he's played the role of protective older brother for so long that he's come to believe it How can he resolve his guilt over his evolving unbrotherly feelings for Roxy When this star crossed pair become lovers at last it's the best kind of magic Wouldn't you know that an old enemy bearing the mother of all grudges against the Nouvelles is about to show upLuke and Roxanne are one of those larger than life couples whose highs and lows are well higher and lower than those of us ordinary mortals Both are impossibly beautiful and talented But I had no trouble falling in love with Luke for his sense of honor and responsibility his heartbreaking vulnerability and his underlying sweetness And then of course there is his ponytail Scrape me off the ceiling A ponytail While Luke remains my romance hero gold standard Roxanne is strong unafraid and smart as a whip; a match for him in every way Not to mention she really is a witch ay woman and sparks do fly from her fingertips There are plot devices here that in the hands of a less talented storyteller would seem trite and contrived We have lovers keeping Big Secrets and telling Big Lies a sociopathic villain who is all evil all the time and parents who despite the criminal thing are just a little too wonderful We've also got complex family dynamics moral ambiguity the criminal thing self sacrifice loss and redemption Count me inNora made enchanting magic out of the tried and true She's a superstar When she's hot no one does it better It's magicI wrote this review in 2004 I need to read the book again ; Final rating 55 stars “In all the illusions you’re the only truth I need” I have so many feelings about this book First of all I want to congratulate Nora for making such a twisted bad guy Good job everytime it was his POV i was angry Good job indeed Other than that amazing and great characters not only the main ones but side ones as well which were so deep and wonderfully done I bought this book on a sale and I don't regret it it was worth it even though I only read translation of it which was very good indeed This is sixth book I have read written by Nora Roberts and I figured out that I freaking love the way she writes the books Her characters are deep and her plots are usually well done and finished It's so rare to see a stand alone book which has absolutely everything I need it made me laugh made me cry had great ending where everything was wonderfully solved and had wonderful vivid and heartbreaking characters both main and side ones But the only thing that did bother me is that while I was reading this book I was reminded of Seth from uinn brothers of Chesapeake Bay Saga because Luke's and Seth's situations are HIGHLY similar and the situations they get into later on is also very similar Both had very abusive family got accepted into a caring one and later in their lives the past catches on to them But this book was so much better than Chesapeake Blue which didn't have such strong ending like the one I got hereIf you read my Nora Roberts Reviews before you might have noticed I said all her books are missing epilogues I got one here even though it was not labeled as such but as a last numbered chapter But it had everything I needed which is why this book is pure 55 from me This one was dark read Whiskey Beach is nothing compared to it and the only one it can be compared with is uinn brothers of Chesapeake Bay Saga because it deals with the lives of very abused people In here you get a clear vision of what was done to the main character and it was horrifying And this book is wonderfully done when it comes to those stories where you follow YEARS not days only or months of someone's life aka progressive time books or however they are called The story goes gradually from 1973 to 1977 to 1982 etc to the present day which is probably 1992 the time the book was written And each time we see the chosen parts of their lives and it was so well done I usually have problems with books like these because sometimes writers don't do a good job with it and transition in years is not noticeable But here everything was done fantastically well The book is set into three parts of which Prologue is the 5 years after the part II part I and II are dealing with the past and part III is Prologue 5 years later time As for the pacing it was fast to me at least it was Something was always happening and it was never EVER boring ► STORY The story begins with the present Roxanne Nouvelle is a successful illusionist working with her family and friends 5 years ago the love of her life Luke Callahan disappeared without a word and never came back Devastated and broken she moved on in her life and accepted the fact that he won't return But one day he does And he wants to tell her why he had to leave Then the book shifts to the past until it catches up with the present The short story versionThe book then starts with many years earlier the moment when a horribly abused and wounded runaway Luke met Nouvelle family and started working for them But as years passed he found out that illusions are not the only trade Max is leading but thievery as well Through the years he falls in love with Max Nouvelle's daughter Roxanne but never acts on his feelings until Roxy took things in her hands and seduced him instead where he finally gave in when they were 2117 years old But Luke is haunted by fear so long ago instilled in him that one day he falls into a carefully set trap by Nouvelle's old enemy and disappears from Nouvelles lives 5 years later Luke is ready to reclaim what was his and get his own revenge on the man who destroyed their lives Long versionIn 1973 the Nouvelle family and their associates are keepers of a Carnival and do illusionistmagician shows But the illusions are not their only trade secret In their free time they steal jewelery from the rich and sell them so they can have money for themselves But their secret is that they only steal from those who don't need them They worked this way for years and one day they came across a horribly abused 12 year old runaway Luke Callahan and accepted him in their family “People tell their children there are no monsters in the world They tell them that because they believe it or they want the child to feel safe But there are monsters Luke all the frightening because they look like people” Entering a traveling carnival Luke was a somewhat successful pickpocketer who only wanted to go as far away as possible And then he saw a magician show the eyes of the man on the poster sucked him in and he gave his precious and risky earned money for the show There he captured the attention of the leader Max Nouvelle What Max saw was himself from the past so he tries to convince the scared and wary boy who put up a front to come and work for them and maybe in time learn him the art of their trade Luke accepts and becomes one of the family In the family he meets Max's daughter 8 year old Roxanne and the other members Mouse Lily LeClerc Through time he starts to accept them and learns that he has nothing to fear of from them and he often falls into arguments with Roxy After a while Luke learns that Max is not just an illusionist but also a master thief Then he learns thief mastery as well ⚠ This part includes a bit of a spoiler section This is the main plot point and if you prefer not ot know it skip this part and move on ⚠ One day a particular con artist and a psychopath Sam Wyatt enters the Nouvelle family attempting to do things as he wishes playing the part of an abused runaway ironically he was never ever abused instead he did that himself Nouvelles being accepting family as they are especially Roxy who found Sam accepted him into their family Not only he is vicious and ville he also hold grudges for a very long time even if it was something small After something big happens Sam ends up driven away and he swears revenge ► CHARACTERS ◈ Luke Callahan was running away from his family a step father who beat him horribly and scarred him in the process and mother who didn't give a damn about it He took his chance and ran away after one particular and horrifying night when he was sure he would be killed view spoiler and even raped because his step father just sold him to another man hide spoiler Things that were awesome Magicians Good relations in general NO DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES Good relationship development except for the transition uhh Luke became creepy and my favorite THIEVESReasons why this book did not blow my mind Wayyy too long Cheesy ending Umm I don't understand the villain Perhaps because he was a sociopath or perhaps his motives were absolutely ridiculous DUDE THIS HAPPENED YEARS AGO Build a bridge GET OVER IT Plus what does it matter to you aren't you a sociopath or somethingOn a somewhat related noteview spoiler He mentioned the sorcerer's stone didn't he What happened to that hide spoiler It’s been a long time since I’ve Nora Roberts but cleaning out my room scored me some books a very nice co worker gave me a while back when she found out I read romance too I never got around to reading them though instead letting them sit and gather dust on my ever growing pile of books I’ll someday get too And after a really weird two months where the whole world seemed to spin into chaos and my drive to read simply vanished I finally was able to crack this sucker open And I’m so glad that I didEver since this pandemic became center stage my brain couldn't seem so settle enough to let me get lost in a book and it was nerve wrecking that when I most needed to give my mind a break and distance myself from all the madness going on around me I couldn’t seem to But whether is was the perfect timing or just the perfect combination of interest and mood I finally got back into reading And Honest Illusion sparked my dormant bookworm and for that I’m probably biased in how I rate this I’m honestly just so happy I was able to read and that both the story and the characters were so well written and vibrant that it instantly became a memorable read for me Nora Roberts has always managed to weave some really great magical realism into her stories Whether it’s about an infamous antiue shrouded in mystery danger and passion or a chance meeting between two strangers that leads to a cunning murder plot her stories are always uniue intriguing and with a hint of the unexplained and mystical Honest Illusion gave off all the right vibes and I was pulled into the story right from the start Although memorable I don’t love it on the same scale that I loved Three Fates I did love all the supporting characters I easily loved to hate the villain and I really liked the MCs Roxy and Luke In typical NR fashion there’s great family ties friendship and romance For me Max and Lily’s story fed my inner romantic and their story had me shedding some serious tears And they were the secondary coupleRoxy and Luke were good together and I really loved that we get their whole story from their first meeting at the ages of 8 and 12 all the way up until their adulthood What toned it down was their separation and how each one dealt with it It hit on too many of my pet peeves in romance and robbed that special spark to their love story Overall the complexity of the plot and the well roundedness of all the players in the story made this a really entertaining read Managed to read this one in 2 days and only because I had to sleep a few hours lol 
 Memorable Moments I loved Max This wise magicianmaster thief was the true star of the story He is your wise patient father figure The man who draws this rag tag group together and forms the strongest of family bonds with loyalty and love

 Would I recommendYes if you like your romance with a touch of murder suspense and Ocean’s Eleven vibes 

 SAFETY INFO view spoiler
Ages MCs Roxy and Luke are both in their mid to late 20s There’s a four year age difference between them Max Roxy’s dad Luke’s mentor and Lily are the mature secondary couple The story spans two decades

Cheating No cheating while their together but Luke doesn’t remain faithful to Roxy even after he develops romantic feelings for her In a very blasé way there is some detailed description of his encounters with OW One in his teens when Roxy first realizes she has a crush for him and one in his early twenties after he realizes that he wants Roxy but feels like he shouldn’t

OMOW drama Over the years we know Roxy feels jealousy over Luke’s relationships but she isn’t one to dwell on these things for long so it’s not overly angsty 

Separation Yes there is a 5 year separation Luke is blackmailed and forced to disappear leaving Roxy and everyone behind He doesn’t remain celibate during their separation

PushPull   Roxy and Luke’s relationship is a chaotic dance of give and take that leads to a lot of push and pull from both sides These two love to have a good argument only to make up with eual passion later NR did a good job of emphasizing their uniue relationship and making it work

 Main Pursuer of relationship Roxy crossed the line with Luke first but when he comes back Luke is the main pursuer He comes back and makes his intentions where Roxy is concerned crystal clear right from the start

Possible Triggers H doesn’t remain celibate during his 5 year separation Roxy stays a virgin for him and after separation she or less abstained from datingsex Definitely needed romance Deals with the ravages caused by a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease Child Abuse Blackmail child prostitution domestic violence Unplannedsurprise pregnancy and second chance romance

HEAHFN Ends on a HEA an epilogue that ties all the loose ends up It’s a bittersweet ending that’s both happy and sad hide spoiler I can't describe the way this book made me feel because somewhere between page 1 and 492 I lost myself I became a wandering Nouvelle making larger than life illusions and falling in love with that good for nothing Callahan I stole from the rich and gave to the poor; watched my closest friend become my worst enemy; made love on a cruise ship and then watched my lover walk out of my life only to have the lying baster return five years too late to bring me crashing back to my kneesI suppose none of that makes a whole lot of sense to any of you but pick up this book and all your uestions will disappear That's the Novuelle way magic's runs in the family and if you give them a chance they pass a little along to you and take you on one hell of a ride while their at it To sum it all up it's heartbreak truelove grand larceny sprinkled with a lot of hot sex Need i say Honest Illusions  The daughter of a world renowned magician Roxy Nouvelle has inherited her father’s talents—and his penchant for jewel thievery Into this colorful world comes Luke Callahan an escape artist who captures her heart—and keeps secrets that could shatter all her illusions Okay I am gonna post a unpopularpersonal opinion here but I have never gotten why people are so ga ga over NR Her so called RScontemporary push some pet peeves of mine NamelyOver description she describes everything and that means a never ending book and a plot that plods aroundThe never ending POV I do not like reading the thought of any or every person on pageThe male sex banter seen those in other books the bouncingand not a fanAlso I have noticed all the male leads have physicalsexual abuse in commonComing to this book man it was long We basically had to read hero's life from 12 to 32 The author basically made us read on page hero's sexual encounters with three different women not a fan of those in romances Of course our heroine remained a virgin for him Then in his five years absence he tells the heroine I loved you and only you but sex with multiple OW helped me what a heroPrince Charming Yeah not buying that crap 3 starsYou know how sometimes you can't wait to turn the page or in this case continue listening For me I liked the first part when the Hh were kids but as grown ups with raging hormones I developed this reluctance to continue with the bookand I'm not uite sure if it's because I knew bad things were going to happen and I didn't feel like listening to it Anyway I did finish it and enjoyed that last big sting So I think 3 stars is reasonable to rate a book where I liked the beginning and ending but not the middle 25 STARS IT WAS OKAUDIOBOOKIt's possible that I'm not being completely fair with this review maybe if I had read this book back in 1992 when it was written I would have loved it but it is now 2015 and this book is outdated in a lot of ways I sometimes find it disconcerting when I read current day books that don't have our current technology I find myself thinking just freaking use your cell phone and then remember they didn't yet exist when the book was written So cell phones and internet are missing in this story and I could have been fine with that they weren't really needed much But what was really dated about this book was how females were treated It's funny because in some ways the female MC Roxy was on the cutting edge She was the star in her families Illusionist show she was the only one in her family to graduate from college and she wasn't expected to have to live a traditional female life Those are the positive aspects of this book but I found the men to be chauvinistic and hypocritical in many ways Just one example is how the leading pair Roxy Luke were treated in respect to dating and sex as they were growing up Luke got jokes and high fives when talking about sex in the backseat of a car but Roxy is judged by Luke if she even seems to be too friendly with men Luke is a manwhore and Roxy is the sweet virginal girl And then later when they are adults and finally get togetherview spoilerLuke leaves for lame reasons and while he's gone he travels the world drinking and whoring while Roxy is at home raising their child not dating even after how Luke left After he comes back he even tells her he was with women and when she winces at that information he just smiles and gives a little laugh at her response That pissed me off How rude and insensitive since she was having his baby and raising their son hide spoiler

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About the Author: Nora Roberts

JD Robb There are than 500 million copies of her books in print