The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler, #52 review

Publication date: 30 April 2020

‘A thrilling, original, evocative and eerie tale – I adored it!’ Michelle Harrison, author of A Pinch of Magic

 Step into a world of secrets, folklore and illusions, where nothing is as it seems and magic is at play…
Madame Augustina Pinchbeck, travels the country conjuring the spirits of dearly departed loved ones… for a price. Whilst her ability to contact ghosts is a game of smoke and mirrors, there is real magic behind her tricks too – if you know where to look.
Through a magical trade, she persuades children to part with precious objects, promising to use her powers to help them. But Pinchbeck is a deceiver, instead turning their items into enchanted Cabinets that bind the children to her and into which she can vanish and summon them at will.
When Pinchbeck captures orphan Leander, events are set into motion that see him and his new friends Charlotte and Felix, in a race against time to break Pinchbeck’s spell, before one of them vanishes forever…


A historical adventure with a magical twist from an outstanding debut talent. Perfect for fans of Michelle Harrison, Sophie Anderson and Emma Carroll.

The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler is the kind of story you might want to consider for your middle grader if you want to introduce them to mystery, fantasy and some spooky elements.

The Plot

This is a short tale consisting of 291 pages (in my book proof edition), easily read by middle graders and I daresay younger children too. The writing is very straight forward without making sentences too tricky yet whimsical and enjoyable. It focuses more on the characters and their traits. The story flow is very smooth, I find that it is easily read in one sitting as the story a fast-paced thrilling story set in the Victorian era.

The Characters

OK, I may or may not have a super soft spot for all the 3 children in the book. They are all so special and just, UGHHHHHH, need a long warm hug. We have:

Leander: He is an orphan boy whose mother was once the cook in a Lord’s house. After his mother passed away, there were no instructions as to the oversee of her son so Leander had to survive on his own. Mrs Smart, the housekeeper lets him stay in the house in secret only if Leander pays the greedy woman money. Money which was up to him to earn on the streets as a beggar boy or take up chores. On the surface, he may be overlooked as a beggar thief but he is a loyal and humble boy that tries to make his way in the world with honour that most men lost since they were boys.

Felix: My heart goes out to him the most. He is undoubtedly a Hufflepuff. The boys are Hufflepuffs. Felix especially. He plays voilin like he was born to do it, his music is the most enchanting sound in the book, it serves him well in his adventures and his love for music is profound through the entire book. He doesn’t give up easily and gets attached to someone quickly. He’s also such a softie and an older brother to Leander. I find one of the most defining moment for the two boys and their brotherly relationship was when Felix was helpless and it was up to Leander to take care of them both, the little ones stepping into the role of the leader to save his brother. *shed tears*

Charlotte: A fine gracious young lady that is far too clever at her age. She’s kinda like the responsible adult in the trio. As the niece of a Lord, she is raised to be a high society lady. Kidnapped at a young age, she has served Pinchbeck for years. She is a character that I really like because she is quick on her toes and selfless. My poor heart goes out to her.

If you like found families, you will love “The Vanishing Trick”, it is about strangers who became friends and slowly grew into a family as they have each others’ back in the face of danger and evil. Thank you to @definitely.books for sending me an ARC, this book will be available in all good bookstores in April. #pansing

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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