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Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts

Sometimes it’s fun to read an oldie but goodie. Honest Illusions was first released in 1992. I read it then and loved it. When Nora Roberts started re-releasing some of her older books, I watched for it. I was starting to think it would never show up on the shelves again, but I spotted it on my last trip to the bookstore and snatched it up. I remembered the story-line, but not the details. And it’s the details that turn a good book into a great one.

The story begins with a 12 year-old runaway determined to pick-pocket his way through a carnival in route to Florida. He would take his chances on his own rather than endure another beating from his mother’s current lover. In need of a break, he spent a dollar on a ticket to see the carnivals main event. A magic show might be fun and there would be more pockets to pick inside the tent. Luke Callahan settled in to watch the Great Nouvelle spin his magic. Captivated, he forgot about picking the pockets around him and watched the show.

Max Nouvelle noticed the kid in the audience and knew what he was doing. The kid was thin to the point of being anorexic. He was a runaway and surviving the only way he knew how. Max understood. He remembered what it was like to be on the street and hungry.

Max took Luke in and made him part of the family. Through the years Luke and Max’s daughter Roxanne followed him onto the stage, as well into his after-hours career. Max was a thief. He specialized in jewelry and only stole from those who could afford it. He tithed, but he was not a modern day Robin Hood. He enjoyed money and the luxuries it could buy as much as the next guy.

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While Luke and Roxanne were teenagers, the Nouvelles took in another runaway, Sam Wyatt. Only Sam wasn’t the innocent he portrayed. He used Roxy as a distraction while ripping off the merchants in the area. To add fuel to the fire, he slept with Luke’s girlfriend. When his activities came to light, Max gave him the boot.

Life moved on. Luke and Roxy fell in love. As Honest Illusions is a love story, that was inevitable. But the road to true love is a bumpy one. Sam was back in the picture. Watching the Nouvelles climb the ladder of success made him green with envy. He would get even with them eventually. When Sam figured out how the family supplemented their income, he started making plans. He would bring the Nouvelles to their knees and kick them in the boot while he was at it.

Honest Illusions covered a wide span of time. We followed Luke and Roxanne from their youth into adulthood. Knowing their history made it easier to understand their quirks. The book had an odd mix of characters, all of them complex and unique, but they meshed into a single family unit well. They added depth to an already complex storyline.

If you missed Honest Illusions the first time around, I highly recommend this book. I didn’t care for the last couple of books written by Nora Roberts, but some of her older ones are destined to be classics. Honest Illusions is one of them.