review and cover mani: the trick

I was a little hesitant to request THE TRICK because it takes place during WWII (a hard time for me to read about) but the premise still piqued my interest and I thought it would count as a serious sort of read. You know, the kind of book that would make me feel smarter afterwards. Ultimately, I was surprised by this historical novel because although the subject matter included somber topics, there were unexpected pops of humour (which I guess makes sense considering it's called "THE TRICK" Haha!). Let me explain.

*stares at cover with heart-eyes*

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Sweeping between Prague during World War II and modern day Los Angeles, this deeply moving debut follows a young Jewish man in 1934 who falls in love and joins the circus as the country descends into war. Decades later, a young boy seeks out the now cynical, elderly magician in the hopes that his spells might keep his family together.

Prague, 1934: The fifteen-year-old rabbi's son Moshe Goldenhirsch marvels at the legendary circus magician known as the Half-Moon Man. Unexpectedly, he falls madly in love with the magician's delightful assistant, spurring him to run away from home to join the circus, which is slowly making its way to Germany as war looms on the horizon. Soon, he becomes a world-renowned magician known as the Great Zabbatini, even sought after by Adolf Hitler. But when Moshe is discovered to be a Jew, only his special talent can save him from perishing in a concentration camp.

Los Angeles, 2007: Ten-year-old Max Cohn is convinced that magic can bring his estranged parents back together before they divorce. So one night he climbs out of his bedroom window in search of the Great Zabbatini, certain this powerful magician has the power to reunite his family. 


I’ve always been fascinated by magic, because having my mind blown is an awesome sensation. In fact, I'm at my happiest when I'm unable to even hypothesize how my exact card made it to the top of the deck while I thought I was still holding it. I suppose it’s because I want to believe in magic, that the unfathomable can appear before my eyes with no logical explanation and fill my heart with wonder. And it turns out that’s exactly what I had in common with Max. Oh how my heart sang and sank for Max! It’s Max’s desire to search out the Great Zabbatini in order to make his parents fall back in love that gets the ball rolling, and isn’t it nice when a plot starts out in such an innocent way? *insert heartwarming feels*

Jacket Design by Donna Cheng
Jacket Photograph © Cyndi Monaghan/Getty Images (Front)

As much as I liked Max, Moshe Goldenhirsch aka The Great Zabbatini was the more interesting character. No surprise since he’d lived a long life by the time Max meets him, and the majority of THE TRICK was Zabbatini’s story. And what a story it was! Moshe certainly had adventures when he ran away with the circus, transforming himself into a famous magician and then ultimately immigrating to the United States. Naturally, I won't share any details with you but suffice it to say, there was never a dull moment.

Along with two fabulous main characters, THE TRICK has a lot going for it, like thoughtful scenic descriptions and escalating stakes, but my favourite part was the voice. Holy moly the voice!! Similar to THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED, there’s a charming and quirky tone. The clever wittiness added a whimsical note to what could have been a devastating story and I found myself giggling pretty regularly. I mean, parts were still pretty heavy—Moshe is a Jew during WWII after all—but the overall story left me feeling uplifted. In short, Bergmann's prose was astounding and I feel the need to give him a standing ovation (from "The Voice" because I'm nerdy like that). 


So if you’re a fan of historical fiction, whimsical writing, and the power of magic, THE TRICK is the novel for you! It's available in stores now, gleaming from shelves with its stunning light teal and gold cover, which means you should splurge on a hard copy. Because for real, the jacket will add some class to your bookcase. 

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for a review copy!


For this mani, I used:

Julep – Ali, Roc Solid, and Francis

OPI – Rollin’ in Cashmere, You Don’t Know Jacques, and Samoan Sand

China Glaze - Boho Blues

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism

Glisten and Glow – topcoat

Mitty Burns – Minty 0 and Clean Pro Flat brushes

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