March 30, 2023

#BookReview: Magician and Fool by Susan Wands @MagicianFool @BookSparks

Synopsis: Pamela Colman Smith, newly arrived from New York to her birthplace of London, is received as an oddball in Victorian society. Her second sight helps her in her new illustrating tarot cards for the Golden Dawn, a newly formed occult group. But when Pamela refuses to share her creations with Aleister Crowley, a controversial magician, he issues a give up the cards’ power, or he’ll harm her muses.

In the midst of this battle, two of Pamela’s idols, the actors Henry Irving and William Terriss, take her under their wing. Henry, who tutors her as the leader of the Lyceum Theatre, becomes the muse for her Magician card. William Terriss, teaching her by examples of instinct and courage, becomes the muse for her Fool card. As Pamela begins to create the tarot deck, she is almost overwhelmed by the race to possess the magical power of her cards. In order to defeat Aleister, Henry and William will have to transform into living incarnations of the Magician and the Fool—and Pamela will have to learn how to conjure her own magic.

This title will be released on May 2, 2023.


Rating: 4 Stars
My Review: Wow this was amazing!!  This historical story with its secret societies and hidden mysteries was one of the best that I have read in a while that surrounded tarot cards and their creation.  I loved every page and the characters within.  It was a new look at the cards that was a joy to read. 


“Rich and atmospheric; Wands dazzles with the wealth of research she’s woven into the fabric of the novel, using her own creative magic to bring some of our most bewitching historical figures back to life.”
—Kira Jane Buxton, author of Hollow Kingdom and Feral Creatures

Magician and Fool is an enchanting read that whisks you to a time in London when life is steeped in a cutting-edge exploration of magic and the otherworldly. It is a world I loved spending time in from the beginning to the end.”
—Naomi McDougall Jones, author of The Wrong Kind of Woman: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood

“A heady historical brew brimming with mysterious manuscripts, secret societies, and the story of a young girl whose creation of a powerful deck of tarot cards might change magic forever. Atmospheric and original.”
—Thea Sutton, author of The Women of Blackmouth Street

“Richly detailed and fluidly written, 
Magician and Fool brings to life the little-known story of artist and occultist Pamela Colman Smith. With a starry supporting cast from the theater, literature, and the dark arts, Wands has conjured a captivating tale with an intriguing woman at its spell-bending center.”
—Patricia Morrisroe, author of The Woman in the Moonlight

“Wands weaves a thrilling and sometimes chilling tale that explores the predictive powers of the imagery found on tarot cards, connecting symbolism and legend through unique characters and extraordinary events.”
—Lisa J. Yarde, author of the Order of the Dragon and Sultana series

“Susan Wands’ 
Magician and Fool tells the intriguing and little-known story of Pamela Colman Smith, creator of one of the most famous Tarot decks in history. With meticulously researched period detail, Wands brings nineteenth-century London to life. From the secret chambers of the Golden Dawn society to private screenings of ancient Egyptian texts and artifacts, Wands takes the reader on a journey through not only history, but also the compelling beauty and danger of the dark arts.”
—Melodie Winawer, author of Anticipation and The Scribe of Siena

Magician and Fool is a spell-binding story that combines history and fiction—author Susan Wands presents an enchanting picture of intriguing historical figures. This book will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in a glimpse into the Victorian theater and the mysterious occult group known as the Golden Dawn. I can't wait for the second book in the series.”
—Sharonah Rapseik, host of the podcast Magic Universe with Sharonah

“The life of British artist and empath Pamela Coleman Smith is a revelation in Susan Wands’s engrossing novel. Readers will plunge into a richly atmospheric London filled with magic and delicious secrets and populated by real-life figures such as Aleister Crowley, Henry Irving, and Ellen Terry. A fascinating journey.”
—Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Blue

About the Author

Susan Wands is a writer, tarot reader, and actor. A graduate from the University of Washington, she has acted professionally across the United States and on Broadway. Her adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was produced at the Cornish Institute in Seattle and she has written plays, screenplays, and skits and produce several indie films. She was a company member in Rumble in the Red Room, an off-Broadway troupe, for four years. As a co-chair with the NYC Chapter of the Historical Novel Society, she helps produce monthly online book launches and author panels. Wands’s writings have appeared in Art in Fiction, Kindred Spiritsmagazine, and The Irving Society journal First Knight. She lives in NYC with her husband, actor Robert Petkoff, and two cats, Flora and Flynn.

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