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Magician of Light
J Fremont, author
One of the most innovative designers of his time, René Lalique was a leader in the decorative arts. Magician of Light begins in his adolescent years in Paris as a striving apprentice. Meanwhile, across the channel, Lucinda Haliburton is facing her own struggles, including a dysfunctional family and history of mental illness. Her grandfather, Lord Haliburton, suggests a visit to his archeological dig in Egypt in an effort to help her escape her difficulties at home—but the trip ends in disaster, and Lucinda returns to England with the belief that she is being preyed upon by ancient Egyptian spirits. Rene and Lucinda’s paths cross when he leaves Paris to continue his studies at a nearby art college. His fascination with Egypt sparks a connection with Lucinda, and romance blooms—but is complicated by her mental condition. Overactive imagination, insanity, or a real haunting? Will their love see them through? Magician of Light touches on the truth of Lalique’s illustrious life, the people most important to him, and the anguish of some of those personal relationships, creating a unique view of his real life and a compelling storybook love story.
Fremont debuts with a dramatic story of lost love, family secrets, and ancient magic. Lucinda Haliburton, granddaughter to a wealthy baron, comes from a family full of intrigue–including greed, betrayal, and whispers of madness. When she is sent to Egypt to spend time with her American father on an archeological dig being financed by her grandfather, Lucinda is thrown into the middle of family drama and dark magic. As her own mental health starts to deteriorate, she learns that her fate is inextricably tied to that of René Lalique, the famous young jewelry designer with his own dreams of fame and fortune.

This is a compelling, engaging tale of historical intrigue, and Fremont’s characters are immersive, though the complex plot at times overshadows them–particularly when it jumps timelines with little warning. While Lucinda fights visions of ancient Egyptian gods and fears of being consumed by the past, René becomes aware of cryptic prophecies that hint at his role in something far greater than he has ever imagined. The two embark on a journey of ill-fated love, and discover that nothing is as it seems–and the powers that be are doing their best to undermine their growing connection. Soon, Lucinda is launched down a path of no return and René drowns himself in his art, gaining notoriety and heartache along the way. Though neither can grasp the dizzying turns in store for them, both hold out hope they will one day be reunited.

Lucinda is equal parts innocent and flawed, characteristics that Fremont skillfully illuminates with the cast of dishonorable family members surrounding her every move, and René is portrayed as a loyal lover searching for meaningful ways to fulfill his destiny. Savvy readers will look beyond the surface romance to tease out the underlying themes of women’s justice and good versus evil, and the surprise ending will please those who prefer out-of-the-blue bombshells.

Takeaway: A memorable story of historical intrigue, jeweler René Lalique, and the relationships that inspired his art.

Great for fans of: Marie Benedict’s Her Hidden Genius, Michelle Moran’s The Heretic Queen.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A