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The Deception

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Member Reviews

I love being given the opportunity to update our school library which is a unique space for both senior students and staff to access high quality literature. This is definitely a must-buy. It kept me absolutely gripped from cover to cover and is exactly the kind of read that just flies off the shelves. It has exactly the right combination of credible characters and a compelling plot thatI just could not put down. This is a great read that I couldn't stop thinking about and it made for a hugely satisfying read. I'm definitely going to order a copy and think it will immediately become a popular addition to our fiction shelves. 10/10 would absolutely recommend.

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The synopsis of this book truly had me fooled. I thought this was going to be an atmospheric and mysterious read but I was just met with a boring story that, in my opinion, lacked direction.
I enjoyed nothing about this story. I didn’t feel like it was well structured and it wasn’t engaging in the least. Most of the characters were unlikeable. One of them was particularly unlikeable and it didn’t matter that the author tried to explain why she was mean and awful, she was a bad person with not one redeeming quality and I truly disliked reading from her point of view.
Although I found the ending to be rushed, it was the only part I enjoyed of this book, solely because that horrid character got what she deserved.
After this experience, I must admit I have no interest in reading anything else from this author.

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2.5/5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers, and Kim Taylor Blakemore for allowing me to read and review this book.

I am sorry this was not my favorite book. I really wanted to enjoy this book; however, it just was not for me. This was not a bad book though. It was well written and the characters were interesting. It is a dual POV from two strong women characters. The plot is well written and the story plays out well.

I had a hard time getting into this book. It was slow paced in my opinion and just not enough happening. It is a historical fiction book, and I think with the description I was just hoping for a few more thriller/creepy moments. I do believe that other people will enjoy this book even if it wasn't my cup of tea. Not every book can be an overall favorite.

Just because this is not my favorite should not deter you from reading this book if it sounds interesting to you.

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This book was witty and captivating from page one. The characters were so distinctive and complex and the story really felt grounded in the historical setting — the authors passion and research was clear on every page.

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The Deception by Kim Taylor Blakemore is a story of intrigue and deceit set during the Spiritualism movement of the late 1800s. A time where mediums and seances were widely engaged as people sought answers from their loved ones and the other side of the veil. From childhoood, Maud Price has always had the ability to channel the voices of the dead. This “gift” was exploited by her father who used his daughter’s ability for his own financial gain. After her father’s death, and the pressure to perform was gone, the spirits no longer are readily at her beck and call propelling her into financial disarray. Clementine Walker’s destitute and violent childhood drives her for financial stability and independence and developed her into a person with great skills of deception but no moral conscience. Maud’s predicament and personality is the perfect scenario for Clem to exploit.


Maude and Clem are the polar opposites of each other in not only personality but in their beliefs in the afterworld. This dichotomy provides the perfect tension for a story woven with the fact and fraud of Spiritualism of that time. A tale that shows how exploitation leads different people down different paths and that individual choices are both made that person and forced by the circumstances they have had to endure. While neither character was easy to identify with, together as main characters, they provide an thoroughly complete story that will keep you engaged till the end.

Kim Taylor Blakemore draws you into the historical world of mediums in a story that walks the line between the fact or fiction of such practioners. A tale of of duplicity and fraud with an undercurrent of truth and reality that is dark yet captivating. This leads to a much bigger discussion of ethics in choices and decisions and whether experiences grant a person an exception to the standards that society has established. The Deception constantly swings you from one side of the arguement to the other as the reader learns more and more of both Maude and Clem’s backgrounds from their points of view. In the end, its seems that Fate sorts things all out only for the reader to be left with a tidbit that totally throws this resolution for a loop in the most unexpected way, leaving us wondering if there might be another book down the road.

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What I know about spiritualism could be written on the back of a postage stamp. Is it real or an act? If you don’t have an answer now, you probably still won’t after reading The Deception. This is an enigma of a book. On the one hand, it’s an easy read. On the other, there’s much I didn’t get – and I’m not just talking about the spiritualist terms I had to look up.

Points of view change constantly. The chapters appear to alternate between Maud and Clem, but there’s a third perspective as well; that of Russell who arrives on scene as Clem’s partner in crime but who exits as… something else.

There are plenty of subtle twists to the plot, about which I won’t speak further because that would give things away. Then there’s the ending, which took my breath away and left me with me more questions than answers. And that’s the crux of my problem with The Deception. Sure, I don’t always expect every question in a novel to be answered and everything neatly wrapped up, but I felt there were more loose ends than necessary. I enjoyed the book, despite not understanding much about spiritualism or the tricks, but I wish it had been meatier with some deeper introspection; I would’ve loved to have discovered Clem’s full background, for example.

Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions above are my own.

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This was a brilliant paranormal historical fiction! Loved everything about this book from the aesthetic, to the writing and the characters. This is a perfect book to add to your spooktober tbr!

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I really wanted to love this book because it seems like an intriguing paranormal mystery. However, it took a long time for the mystery to begin. I also could not connect with any of the characters. Still, the author did an excellent job in creating an eerie atmosphere! I recommend this for fans of gothic novels!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the eARC of this book! This review will contain some spoilers, but they will be fairly vague.

When I read the synopsis for The Deception, I thought it sounded really interesting. While there were parts that I enjoyed, this book just didn’t live up to my expectations, so I gave it three stars. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it; it was just in the middle.

I’ll go through the notes one by one. First, the pacing. The book felt slow at the start, and it felt like I read half a book about scamming people with fake ghosts before anything mentioned in the synopsis actually happened. Once the murders did get started, the book’s pacing sped up so much that the end felt like it had so much crammed into it that there were sudden character changes and huge decisions made off page. After spending so much time going through each specific technique to fake a ghost, only to skip a lot of character development, it really threw the pacing off.

While this book was an interesting look into fame, greed, and their ability to drive people to extremes, the pacing issues really took away from that. The start of the book was all about how careful Clementine was about making sure no one caught onto what she was doing and controlling what everyone around her was doing to her, just murdering people in broad daylight within a few chapters. It seemed so sudden, just like Maud’s sudden career change right at the end.

The commitment to historical accuracy was impressive, and the book felt like a lot of time had gone into researching seances and spiritualists in the 1870s, which I enjoyed. However, I was thrown off by how easily one person got taken out by a poker to the head while someone else survived being pushed off a cliff. Maybe I missed a detail but there were just some things that took me out of the book completely.

The ending did feel like it was setting up for a second book, but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen or if it’s just a book that ends with a cliffhanger. Either way, I doubt I’ll be reading it. This book did make me want to read more historical fiction, which was nice.

To wrap up, this book was fine. I was a little disappointed that this book didn’t live up to my expectations, and I wasn’t a fan of the pacing, I enjoyed the setting and the premise. Once I got into the book, and the murder happened, I was flying through this book, but it took a lot to get through the first section. It fell pretty much in the middle rating-wise, so I don’t have a lot of strong opinions about it either way. I don’t think it was a waste of time to read, and it’s probably the book for someone else. I don’t regret reading it, either way.

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Thank you for providing me the opportunity to review “The Deception“. I am appreciative and leave my sincerity review voluntarily.

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I read and enjoyed Blakemore’s Companion some time ago, so I figured I’ll check this one out. Plus, I’m quite partial to stories about seances, mediums (fraud of all creative sorts really) and all that. It’s one of those things where it’s fun if it’s real and fun if it isn’t.
Or, as is the case in this book, if you’re not quite sure either way.
Because you know, it’s all about Deception.
So, here we have Maud, a child-sensation with some apparently genuine powers who had been much reduced in circumstances since and Clementine, a con artist/Svengali who decides to restore Maud back to fame and fortune…for a generous cut of the profits. And completing the triangle, is Russell, Clem’s charming flirtatious paramour.
Together the three are locked in a complicated alliance that is simply bound to end in a manner unsatisfactory to at least one of them.
That’s the story, and right until it’s very fun ending slice, it’s such a fun read.
Blakemore’s got a very natural way of writing, the book reads like a charm. Not only is it thoroughly researched to recreate a bygone era and zeitgeist, but the characters themselves are so well-realized that they come to life in technicolor and with snappy realistic dialogue to boot.
All in all, very entertaining. Not as good as Companion in this reviewer’s opinion, but still very much worth a read. Certainly more impressive than its cover. Recommended for fans of historical fiction. Thanks Netgalley.

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Maud was a famous child medium and she lost her gift. Now she is older and broke. Maud searches for a way to bring her back to the celebrity she once had. She reaches out to a well known charlatan, Clementine. Together they start making money through deception and Maud is enjoying regaining her lost fame. Until something occurs and this event makes Maud think about her future in this lifestyle. An exceptionally written historical thriller. This story has romance, suspense and the paranormal. The author creates an exciting paranormal world.

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing, I received review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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⭐⭐ -- Great cover on this one!

This was just okay for me. I found myself putting it aside to do other things a lot and forgetting to pick it back up. 🤷🏻‍♀️ On a more positive note, the author did a good job making the story atmospheric and spooky.

**ARC Via NetGalley**

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Maud Price was famous for her ability to give comfort to the living by communing with the dead as a child but struggles to make ends meet as her abilities have grown dim in recent years. Clementine is willing to help fill in the gaps with her deceitful but effective parlor tricks, but at what price?

This book is even darker than I anticipated and I loved that. It has a richly gothic feel and Clementine's character becomes increasingly diabolical as the story progresses. Maud's initial hesitation at the schemes Clementine puts into play turns to panic as Clementine inserts herself into every aspect of Maud's life to maintain her powerful hold over the medium. As tidbits of Clementine's past are revealed via flashbacks, the plot thickens with the lengths to which she will go to exploit Maud. Whether Maud's powers are genuine or improvised becomes irrelevant as Clementine's greed drives her actions to a disturbing climax.

If you're in the mood for a slow-build gothic thriller, this one's for you. Clementine is a shady con artist with a flair for drama that you won't soon forget, and the spiritualist setting ramps up the creep factor for a satisfyingly sinister read.

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Great premise, very well developed and nicely told story. Eerie and creepy perfect for this time of the year. I will say at times the story did drag a bit, but overall I enjoyed it very much. Thank you netgalley and publisher for this arc in exchange of an honest review.

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The Deception really lives up to its title, a gothic historical novel with elements of mystery and you are not quite sure what’s going on or who to trust. Clementine was as first a likeable smart woman who I felt didn’t believe she deceived people as such but rather have the impression that it served people right if they were stupid enough to fall for her deception. Whilst I found Maud a bit weak at first.

However nothing is quite as it seems and this very detailed novel really takes you on a realistic journey through the post civil war era. It was a bit confusing at times but otherwise I would recommend.

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This was just OK for me, I did enjoy it but I found it a little slow at times and not as gripping as other books. However I did like the supernatural side to the novel and was interested in the right and wrongs and would recommend it to people interested in Historial and the supernatural.

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How do you feel about the US spiritualist movement of the late 19th Century? About unethical characters with twisted backgrounds? About fake mediums? About real mediums? About disinterested cops on the take? About true and not-so-true love?

If any of these possibilities are catching your interest, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy reading Kim Taylor Blakemore's The Deception.

Maud, who has worked as a (real) medium since childhood find herself becoming more and more marginalized, while her bills mount higher and higher. She contacts Clem (short for Clementine), who makes a business of assisting mediums facing circumstances just like Maud's. In almost no time at all, Clem has improved Maud's fortunes, not by helping Maud reconnect with her spirit guide, but by adding layers of attention-getting flimflam to what were once Maud's very sincere, if frequently unsuccessful, seances.

That's the set-up in The Deception, which expands outward in concentric circles of fraud, criminality, blackmail, and attempted debunkings.

If you're looking for an exciting read that will pull you away from the day-to-day, The Deception should serve you well.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.

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I wanted to like this one, I really did. I think the fact I flipped to audio may have had something to do with my lower rating. . .but I just did not like the characters. I found Clementine completely awful from the get-go. The way she steamrolled Maud right from the beginning just frustrated me. But Maud never changed. She just kept letting her take over again and again. The narrator for Maud was breathy (which I think the author said she was) but Maud was constantly unsure, unaware and gasping for breath. I equally couldn't stand her perspective. I thought there would be more seances and more paranormal activity but the story mainly focused on the slight of hand and parlor games instead of the real thing.

I wish I'd liked it more but sadly, this one just wasn't for me..

A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

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I feel so bad to DNF a KTB book but I just can't get past the 62% of this book.. I am bored, the characters stay blurry, the story is not taking off, a snooze-fest. The story feels messy. Such a disappointment. This book was the opposite of the excitement and involvement I felt reading After Alice Fell and The Companion.

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