281 pages
ISBN 0-7710-0745-0
DDC C813'




Julie Rekai Rickerd is a Toronto broadcaster and public relations


Illusions is Charlotte Vale Allen’s twenty-fourth novel. The prolific, Toronto-born writer sets out to titillate the reader with her latest creation, a suspense-filled psychological thriller.

Vale Allen sets the stage with the coincidental meeting of a writer / illustrator and a businessman seated next to each other in the first-class section of a flight from New York to London. Both have been bruised and battered by life, and this leads to their mutual attraction and eventual, ill-fated involvement. The fragility of both their psyches blinds them to the dangerous consequences of their seemingly innocent actions.

Vale Allen’s style is deft and to the point. She handles prose with care and is comfortable with dialogue. Her description is powerful, vivid, and detailed. She is comfortable with the provocative and creates a sense of dramatic tension with ease. Her structure is sound as is her ability to conjure up and maintain suspense.

If Illusions is to be faulted, it is for its slow beginnings. Having set the scene, Vale takes her time in “making things happen.” Her characters, although well sketched and obviously much buffeted by circumstances beyond their control, are difficult to admire or appreciate. Not one is sufficiently sympathetic to elicit the reader’s full support, commitment, or concern. The characters’ actions and reactions are often clouded by their immaturity and lack of common sense, which becomes an irritant. Nor is the resolution of their conflicts entirely satisfying.

Illusions is an easy read. It is neither a waste of time nor memorable.



Allen, Charlotte Vale, “Illusions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,