Author: Carissa Douglas
Illustrator: Carissa Douglas
Age Range: 8 – 14/15
I loved the first book in this series so much that I eagerly anticipated this second novel, Lair of Illusion. And I wasn’t disappointed. Once again, Carissa Douglass has based the characters of this large, homeschooling family on her own children. In this story, the older children are invited to stay with their three thoroughly lovable aunts in an old mansion. And there they once again find an ancient key that eventually leads them on another adventure and scary spiritual battle between good and evil.
The setting of this story is brilliant. An old mansion that has turrets, secret tunnels, hidden panels behind the paintings and ancient chests that contain supernatural powers. Carissa Douglas knows how to create a story that will enthral children from beginning to end. As the mystery unfolds, we are introduced to three eccentric aunts who are larger than life and very different from each other in temperament. The aunts provide comic relief as the children and their new friend, Will, enthusiastically immerse themselves in their new quest.
This time, Saint John Henry Newman is their Saint guide. Carissa Douglas appears to have enormous fun bringing this Saint to life using his complex, literary language.
“I beg you, please, do not be frightened. It would counter the extraordinary elation of my heart: the teeming jubilation of this felicitous meeting…”
I enjoyed his very English dialogue, and the children in the story quickly adjusted to his unique way of speaking.
The story builds in excitement and danger until there is once again a final showdown between the children and evil spirits that have captured the minds of innocent people. Using special gifts of the Holy Spirit provided to them and with special Catholic prayers they manage to soundly defeat the demons and redeem many sad, lonely, lost souls.
The children have grown a little older in this book, and in some ways the story is pitched to a slightly older age group. There is a budding romance portrayed between Will and Allora who navigate their emerging feelings with butterflies in their stomachs and much red faced embarrassment. By stories end, the characters have each grown a little – they are challenged, confronted and ultimately succeed. There is much to be said for both of these books by Carissa Douglas and I highly recommend them to Catholic children and their families. Hopefully a third book will be released soon.
You can read my review of the first book, Mystic Informant HERE
You can purchase a copy of Lair of Illusion at Veritatis Publishing HERE