• Illusion : a novel / Frank Peretti.


Publication Info

  • New York : Howard Books, 2012.


  • 9781439192672 : HRD $26.99
  • 1439192677 : HRD $26.99


  • 498 p.


  • Hardcover large type
  • Paperback
  • eBook
  • CD


Christian fiction; paranormal; psychological fiction


4Q, 4P


While grieving the loss of his wife and partner in magic of 40 years, Dane comes across a teenager identical to her in appearance and ability.


Dane Collins, master illusionist, has tragically lost his beloved wife and partner of 40 years in a terrible accident. Warned by his doctor that the trauma and medication might cause hallucinations or delusions, he is nonetheless shocked when he meets a young street magician who looks like Mandy—40 years ago.

Mandy attends the fair in 1970 with her college friends. She sits down to wait for them, and in the next moment finds herself lying on the ground in a hospital gown with everything around her changed. She can’t find anyone she knows or any familiar landmarks. Taken by police to a hospital where she is placed in the mental ward, Mandy discovers it is 2010. How can she have been born in 1951 and still be only 19 in 2010? When she mysteriously escapes the hospital, Mandy discovers abilities for magic that astound even her. Is she losing her mind, or is something more sinister going on?


Illusion is magical science fiction with a transcendent love story. In the author’s note, he confesses that the love story is based on his relationship with his own wife of 40 years. This emotion shines through the main characters in the book. He also sees this love as a symbol of the love between God and His people, reaching across space and time to find our true home.

As for the science part of the fiction, it is an interesting proposition with the usual good intentions/bad application scenario. The deeper we get, the more we wonder who is doing this, how, and why? As the story comes to a climax, there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

In this story Peretti also explores issues of self-identity and belonging. As Mandy grapples with the loss of everything she thinks she knows—her father, friends, home, even her place in time—we the readers can identify with that search: in a large and sometimes scary universe, who are we, and where do we belong? In the search for that, do we not sometimes try to become someone we are not? This search then ties in with the theme of the larger love story.

Peretti is a great story teller. He capably interweaves multiple characters and points of view and maintains a suspense that makes for a real page-turner.

Author  This website now simply links to the author’s social media, on which he is not very active, and to Amazon.

A brief interview with the author at Publishers Weekly.

Focus on Fiction interview.


Amazon (scroll down for reader reviews)

USA Today

Appeal Factors

Fans of Christian fantasy fiction will enjoy this story, including established Peretti fans. The love story is also strong and may appeal to some romance readers as well.


The Shadow Lamp, by Stephen Lawhead. These novels share the genre Christian Fantasy Fiction. This novel was also enjoyed by Goodreads members who liked Illusion.

Burn, by Ted Dekker. These books share the genre Christian Fantasy or Paranormal. Dekker’s books are usually a little darker.

Maggie, by Charles Martin. Maggie and Illusion share the genre Christian Psychological Fiction and a focus on the husband/wife relationship.

Bootalk Ideas

Describe the scene from Chapter 2 when Mandy goes from a 19 year old at the fair in the year 1970 to a 19 year old at the fair in a hospital gown in the year 2010. If doing a longer booktalk, it could include a description of Dane’s first encounter with Mandy after the accident as told in chapter 16.

Discussion Questions

Did you find the scientific explanations of what happened to Mandy plausible, or was the author able to get you to suspend disbelief? Why or why not?

A major theme of this story is the love between Dane and Mandy that transcends time. It seems as an invisible thread that pulls her towards him despite rational thought saying it was impossible. Do you believe in a love that has this kind of power? If yes, on what do you base this belief?

When Mandy is in the hospital, she must come to terms with the changes this new timeline brings her–the loss of her father and others among these changes. How does this affect her? How would you come to terms with such loss?

Book group idea: Have members bring in pictures of themselves at about age 19. Talk about the changes that have happened in the years since.

Why I chose this book

I have been a Peretti fan since his first novels, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. The cover was appealing, and the emphasis on the love between husband and wife was also a draw.

Memory Hooks

Magic, doves, Dane & Mandy, time travel



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