Escaping from Houdini is a Young Adult historical fantasy fiction novel by New York Times bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco.
In this article, you will find some frequently asked questions about this book and series. I have tried to answer them as best as possible.
I hope you enjoy reading these, and I hope this post answers some of the questions you may have about this book and series!
Is Escaping from Houdini YA or NA?
Escaping from Houdini is, like the other books from this series, a young adult book.
Is Escaping from Houdini a standalone, duology, or series?
There are four books in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Escaping from Houdini is the third book in the series.
Here is the order in which to read them:
At the ending of the second book, we find out that Audrey Rose and Thomas are traveling to America so that they can help Jonathan Wadsworth with a murder investigation.
The journey to America aboard the RMS Etruria will take a week.
Audrey Rose and Thomas are delighted there will also be circus performers onboard.
The Moonlight Carnival will entertain first-class travelers every night.
But soon after departure, privileged young women are disappearing. And people are found murdered. Because the murders are so disturbing and brutal, people suspect the carnival. It is up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to find out what is going on before even more passengers die.
Audrey Rose wants to make sure there are no more deaths, especially not among the people she cares for the most. So she decides to infiltrate the carnival to investigate the members.
There is a lot of romance between Audrey Rose and Thomas. Now they have admitted their feelings for each other, so they try and spend as much time together as possible.
Also, there is some romance between Harry Houdini and Liza. Although this seems to be more of a fling for Harry, Liza does have feelings for him.
The relationship between Audrey Rose and Thomas is getting more serious. They have expressed their feelings toward each other. Furthermore, it seems like Thomas is very serious about making Audrey Rose his wife.
But on the ship to America, they run into Mephistopheles. He is very charming and tries to lure Audrey Rose into the carnival. He lets her spy on the members of the carnival. He also offers to help her find out what Harry’s motives are for romancing her cousin. But above all, he promises to help her find out who the killer is onboard the ship. The catch is that Audrey Rose must pretend she is his lover. And she can’t tell Thomas about all of this.
Because of this, there is some tension between Audrey Rose and Thomas. He isn’t sure she is telling him the truth. And he is afraid that he can no longer trust Audrey Rose. This causes a sort of love triangle between Audrey Rose, Thomas, and Mephistopheles.
Is Escaping from Houdini spicy?
No, not really. Indeed there are some stolen kisses and promises of more to come. But as a true young adult novel, there isn’t anything spicy or very sexual in this book.
Important Characters in Escaping From Houdini
Liza Clarence is the cousin of Audrey Rose. Her mother has declared her missing, but then Audrey Rose spots Liza onboard the RMS Etruria. Here she works as an assistant to Harry Houdini. And she also appears to be his lover.
When her uncle Jonathan finds out what she has been doing, he is furious. As a result, he forbids her to work for the carnival and tells her she needs to get back to England as soon as possible. But Liza does not want this, and secretly keeps meeting Harry.
Mephistopheles is the ringleader of the Moonlight Carnival onboard the RMS Etruria. He is never seen without his mask. Which gives him extra allure and mystery.
In exchange for information about Harry Houdini, he makes Audrey Rose perform in the final show. This way, Mephistopheles can make her practice every night with the other performers.
He acts as if there is a love interest between him and Audrey Rose. So nobody suspects he is helping her. But the more they work together, the more it seems he is genuinely interested in her.
Andreas is a member of the Moonlight Carnival. In the special set of tarot owned by Mephistopheles, he is portrayed as ‘the fool’.
He is originally from Bavaria and works in the carnival as a fortune teller. He lets Audrey Rose use his mirror to find out about her future.
One of the victims on the ship is Lady Crenshaw. She is found dead in a tank with a ‘five of hearts’ card and not a tarot card like the other victims.
The daughter of Lady Crenshaw was one of the first victims of the killer. It was made to look like she took her own life because of this. But this turned out to be false. Indeed, she turned out to be yet another victim of the killer.
Who is the killer in Escaping from Houdini?
[SPOILER CONTENT BELOW]
The killer on the RMS Etruria is Andreas. His motive is quite simply, revenge for the death of his betrothed, Liesel.
Liesel was a beautiful young girl who worked as a flower girl. Lady Crenshaw once overpaid for the flowers she got from Liesel. When her husband confronted Lady Crenshaw, she accused Liesel of stealing the money. This was because she was jealous of this beautiful girl.
The Crenshaw family is friends with the Chef magistrate, so Liesel didn’t stand a chance at trial. She was sent to prison where she got very sick. Dr. Arden refused to tend to her and cure her illness. This leads to her eventual death.
Andreas gets his revenge by killing the wives and daughters of the people he holds responsible. So they also feel his pain. After they know what it feels like, he then also kills them.
Escaping from Houdini bonus/exclusive chapter
In Barnes & Nobles’ edition of Escaping from Houdini, you will find an exclusive bonus chapter. This chapter mostly contains some extra scenes between Audrey Rose and Thomas.
Escaping from Houdini quotes
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Escaping from Houdini.
- “If you wish to go, I’ll never make you stay. I might not do and say the proper thing all the time, but I do know that I love you enough to set you free.”
- “We women could be called creatures, if only the men who said such careless words accepted our claws were fearsome things when we decided to scratch.”
- “Some risks are worth taking, even if they seem impossible at first.”
- “The promise of death was as alluring, if not more so, than the prospect of falling in love. What morbid creatures we were, craving danger and mystery in place of happily-ever-afters.”
Books like Escaping from Houdini
If you like mysterious fantasy books with a touch of romance, here are some other books you may like:
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber – There is no other fantasy story like this one. The world of caraval pulls you in and you don’t want it to end. With amazing characters, world building, and some romance, this book is worth your time.
- To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo – This retelling of the Little mermaid gives you a different look at the story where the mermaid isn’t a helpless victim and the prince is more like a pirate. This standalone book is beautifully written.
- Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie – This is the first book in a duology with an original story about bone criers that lure their mates like sirens. The characters are interesting and the world building is done very well.
Escaping from Houdini: Conclusion
This third book in the series brings us many new characters and developments. There are many more things to say about this book and series.
Regardless, I hope this article has answered some of the questions you may have had about this book.
And if there are still more things you would like to know about this book or series, let me know in the comments below!