Hill starts off with a brief history of the Dagmar family and their curse, which oddly enough includes a little foreshadowing that I will not play out as it is in my mind. We then join Herman on the morning she runs away from home (yes, all the girls in her father’s line have men’s names). She has a job offer at a horse stable and boards the train out of town. While on the train, she meets Stephen (a magician with real powers and the bloodline of a demonic incubus).
This is where the story could have gone a variety of ways but the way Hill took it was this — Stephen has an instant connection to Herman and offers her a job as his assistant on stage. Now, Herman is under eighteen and, obviously, he doesn’t want to land in jail, so they work out a little “Oh look, this is my stop too” type departure from the train.
Life with wealthy Stephen is completely opposite her home life, but there are things about her life that she doesn’t know. Her father is a magician too (well, cross-dressing magician’s assistant to be precise) and she has powers that she never knew about.
Margaret, Stephen’s friend and business assistant, help Herman learn the ropes of a few tricks and they perform at a children’s birthday party. Stephen, Herman, and Margaret all get along and life is perfect…well, that would make for a boring book, now wouldn’t it.
Stephen’s family is cursed, and bound to the lives of their servants, the Currys. Stephen want’s to break the family curse, and to do so, requires great sacrifice.
I’m not going to say what that sacrifice is, just that it doesn’t happen in this book per se. There are great characters in this book beside Stephen, Herman, and Margaret. There is Reed Currys (Stephen’s half-brother), Nina Currys (Stephen’s servant and mother to his unborn child), Gerald (the Dagmar family lawyer who knows more than he tells), Aunt Aggie (Herman’s dead Aunt who knows more than her ghost is telling), and George Anderson (Herman’s father who doesn’t make much of an appearance in this book but has many secrets of his own).
Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. The characters sucked me in, and I felt like I was watching a movie.