Bestselling Frank Peretti’s “Illusion” is a love note to his wife of 40 years
"If I can awaken people’s admiration for the joy and sanctity of marriage, then I have accomplished my purpose,” says the author of "This Present Darkness"
BY: Rob Kerby
heavy sermon. “It has a Christian message in it,” he says, “but I don’t spoon feed it to the reader. Those who have an ear will hear.”
Instead, it’s an allegory. “It’s written from a Christian world view. It’s more like C.S. Lewis did in the Narnia books. He didn’t have a blatant Christian message. But it was based on Christian imagery.
“Marriage is an institution of Almighty God and if I can glorify that and awaken people’s admiration for the joy and sanctity of marriage, then I have accomplished my purpose,” says the author. “Marriage is a beautiful thing and it’s worth working on. Marital devotion is certainly worthwhile. I’d be happy if readers just took that away with them.”
Illusion tells the story of Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for four decades who are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life — or so everyone thinks.
Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, but Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the 19-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she ends up in a mental ward until she discovers her newfound ability to move invisibly through time and space.
She uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing illusions on the streets and in a funky coffee shop. Coincidentally, the grieving Dane wanders into the coffee shop and is astonished by her act. She does illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain.
But more than anything, he is smitten by this teenager who has never met him, doesn’t know him and is certainly not in love with him. However, she is in every aspect identical to the woman of his dreams whom he first met and married some 40 years earlier. They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him.
One wonders while flipping through the pages whether it is tough writing to evangelicals – Peretti’s biggest and most faithful audience. “It used to be a lot more strict than it is now,” he admits. “I may be