Master of Illusion – Reviews

Anne Rouen is proud to be an award-winning historical fiction author. In August 2014, Anne received the Silver Medal in the Historical Literature Fiction (Modern) Category of the Global Ebook Awards for Master of Illusion Book One.

Read more about Anne’s latest achievements, awards, reviews and the bestseller status for the Master of Illusion series.


Angel of Song US Amazon Store Bestseller Ranks
# 349 Historical Literature Fiction (Dec 2015)
# 52 Historical Fiction French (Dec 2015)
# 190 20th Century Historical Romance (Dec 2015)
# 2312 Military Romance (Dec 2015)

Angel of Song US Amazon Hot New Release Ranks
# 5  Historical Fiction French (Dec 2015)
# 27 20th Century Historical Romance (Dec 2015)Amazon Bestseller

Master of Illusion Amazon AU Bestseller Rank
# 42 Historical Fiction Mystery (Feb 2014)
# 480 Historical Fiction Romance  (Feb 2014)
Master of Illusion Book I re-entered the Bestseller Ranks for Historical Fiction Mystery at #144 on August 8, 2014, a whole 18 months since its launch!

Master of Illusion Amazon Hot New Release Rank
#10 Hot New Release Historical Mystery (Feb 2014)
#69 Hot New Release Historical Romance – Victorian (US Store)

Master of Illusion Book II Amazon Hot New Release Rank
#48 Hot New Release Historical Romance – Victorian (US Store) (Feb 2014)
In Top 100 nine times in the first month of release.

Anne Rouen – In the Top 100 Australian Authors on Amazon 
#90 Across all genres – Top 100 Australian Authors with Hot New Releases (AU Store) (Feb 2014)

See the Bestseller Lists (updated hourly)Amazon Bestseller Historical Romance and Historical Mystery
Historical Romance
Historical Mystery

See the Hot New Release Lists (updated hourly)
Historical Romance
Historical Mystery
Historical Romance – Victorian (US)

See Top 100 Australian Authors (updated hourly)
Hot New Release Australian Authors
Bestselling Australian Authors


Awards for Master of Illusion Book One in 2014

  • Silver Medal Winner – Historical Literature Fiction (Modern) – Global Ebook Awards – August 2014

    Global Ebook Awards - Anne Rouen, Winner of the Silver Medal in Historical Fiction Literature (Modern)

    Anne Rouen: Winner of the Silver Medal in Historical Fiction Literature (Modern)

Award Nominations for Angel of Song in 2016

  • Global Ebook Awards (2016) in two categories: Best eBook Cover, Historical Literature Fiction – Modern.
  • Independent Publisher Book Awards (2014) in three categories: Historical Fiction, Wartime Fiction, and Best Book Cover.

Award Nominations for Master of Illusion Book One in 2013/2014

  • Global Ebook Awards (2014) in two categories: Best eBook Cover, Historical Literature Fiction – Modern.
  • Independent Publisher Book Awards (2014) in three categories: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Best Author Website
  • Elit Book Awards (2014) in four categories: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Best Book/Author Website
  • Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards (2013) in one category: Fiction

Award Nominations for Master of Illusion Book Two in 2014/2015

  • Global Ebook Awards 2015 nominated for: Historical Literature Fiction (Modern), Historical Romance, Best Author Website, Best eBook Cover
  • Independent Publisher Book Awards (2015) in three categories: Historical Fiction, Romance & Best Romance eBook
  • Elit Book Awards (2015) in two categories: Historical Fiction & Romance
  • Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards (2014) in one category: Genre Fiction ~ Achieved an average 4.17 rating out of 5 from the judges!


30 December 2014Achieved an average 4.17 out of 5 rating from the judges in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards for Master of Illusion Book Two in the genre fiction category

17 August 2014 – Winner of the Silver Medal for Historical Literature Fiction (Modern) in the Global Ebook Awards

August 2014 – Six Stellar Reviews on Writers’ Web for Master of Illusion Book One

August 2014 – Master of Illusion Book One re-entered Amazon Australia’s Bestsellers lists, 18 months post book launch

10 February 2014 – Half-page article about the launch of Master of Illusion Book Two, The North West Magazine

Master of Illusion Book Two in the North West Magazine

January 2014 – Received a great review and a rating of 3.6out of 5 across all categories evaluated by judges in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards (Fiction Category), including 5 out of 5 for Characterization. See the reviews section for more.

December 2013 – 7 months on, and still averaging over 4.5 stars across all the eBook platforms!

9 December 2013 – Front-page mention & half-page article on Master of Illusion’s nomination in the Global Ebook Awards for the ‘Best Modern Historical Literature’ and ‘Best eBook Cover’ categories, The North West Magazine

December 2013 – 7 months in the Top 10 of the International eBook Author’s Most Popular List – Now at #5!

October 2013 – 5 months in the Top 10 of the International eBook Author’s Most Popular List – Has been #6 for two months straight.

October 2013 – 6 months since Master of Illusion – Book One is released, and it’s still averaging 4.5 stars across all eBook platforms.

24 September 2013 – Article on Master of Illusion’s nomination in the Global Ebook Awards ‘Best Modern Historical Literature’ and ‘Best eBook Cover’ categories, The Manilla Express Newspaper

September 2013 – Nominee for the Global eBook Awards 2014 in the categories: Fiction – Historical Literature – Modern & Best eBook Cover


April to August 2013 – Averaged a 5 star rating on Kobo, four months post release

April to August 2013 – Averaged a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble, four months post release

Mid-August 2013 – Number 5 in the Top 10 of the International eBook Author’s Most Popular List – Moved up two spaces!

August 2013 – Over two months in the Top 10 of the International eBook Author’s Most Popular List – Moved up to #7!

3 July 2013 – Article on Master of Illusion and Anne Rouen in, ‘The North West Magazine‘, which reaches 13 newspapers in the North West NSW district

1 July 2013 – Ranked number 26 on in the Historical Mystery eBooks category (based on eBooks released in the last 90 days, rated 4 stars and above)

1 July 2013 – Ranked number 56 on in the Historical Mystery eBooks Most Popular category (based on eBooks released in the last 90 days, rated 4 stars and above)

26 June 2013 – Article on Master of Illusion and Anne Rouen in, ‘The Manilla Express’ Newspaper

April / May 2013 – Made Amazon’s Top 100 in the category, Hot New Releases in Historical Mysteries

By end of May 2013 – In Amazon’s Top 100 for New and Most Popular Fictional Historical Mystery eBooks (released in last 3 months, ranked 4 stars and higher)

By end of May 2013 – In Amazon’s Top 50 for Best Rated Fictional Historical Mystery eBooks (released in last 3 months, ranked 4 stars and higher)

By end of May 2013 – In Amazon’s Top 25% of all Fictional Historical Mystery eBooks in the Kindle Store (ranked on Ratings)

27 May 2013 – Top 10 on the International eBook Author’s Most Popular List

April/May 2013 – An average 5 star rating on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo and Barnes & Noble!


Judge – Second Annual Writer’s Digest Self-published Ebook Awards

Master of Illusion: Book Two by Anne Rouen shows off the author’s adeptness at taking readers on a journey, unfolding the story slowly and smoothly yet dropping enough unexpected surprises to add delightful texture, and creating story questions along the way that make fans want to keep turning the pages. I appreciate the frequent date stamps that prevent confusion of time. The technical aspects of this book are all good and without flaws that would pull readers from the story. The cover of this book is eye catching and can easily be seen on a thumbnail at a retail website. The characters are all well drawn, and their dialogue is true to each one speaking. The author voice is strong without overpowering the story. There is a lyrical quality to the prose in this book that I think appeals to most fantasy readers.

Judge’s Score out of 5 in each category

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Pete Loveday – Writers’ Web Australia

This is a good read.

I enjoy the Andrew Lloyd Weber version of the Phantom of The Opera so I was curious to learn how the author used the setting, time and philosophy to craft a wonderful complex and interesting tale.

Written with great skill and compassion the author has woven a compelling story that kept me enthralled to the conclusion.

I particularly enjoyed the complex and powerful character, Angel, and how he overcame his disfigurement to become a strong and devious character. 19th Century France was a fascinating and intriguing time and the author has captured that to perfection.

This is a book for all lovers of history and romance with a very touching and dramatic finale.

Lorraine Cobcroft – Writers’ Web Australia

I was pleasantly surprised by this work. It started slowly and I had to compel myself to continue reading, but after the first few chapters I could not put it down. The voice was authentic and consistent. The characters came to life and elicited great empathy. The story was rich and well-paced, with plenty of conflict. There was just enough description, and what was provided was satisfactorily in line with the period and setting.  My only minor doubt was over the credibility of the children’s abilities and wisdom in the early part.

Unlike most self-published or new author works, I found no glaring continuity errors or inconsistencies. And also unlike most self-published or new author works, the work was perfectly formatted and thoroughly and correctly edited. The author demonstrates impressive professionalism as well as talent.

The manner in which a mystery was perpetuated to draw the reader into reading a sequel was clever. I have read many negative remarks from agents and publishers about authors who use the technique of a story told to a third person to relate their tale, and many objections to prologues and epilogues, but I can’t agree with these criticisms and I thought Anne Rouen did it remarkably well.

I particularly enjoyed the touches of what I refer to as ”word magic” -”tension feathered along her spine”, ”his laboured voice took on a silkily menacing tone”; and the brilliantly done comparative descriptions of the two conductors.

Overall, I found this an outstandingly well-crafted work and a great pleasure to read. I congratulate the author.

Coral Nichols – Writers’ Web Australia

Set in Paris in the late 19th Century, a beautiful story of love, adoration, hate and murder.

This book read very similar to The Phantom of the Opera. It was nevertheless beautifully written with likeable characters and natural dialogue that was spiced with French phrases.

After reading 400 plus pages there was not an adequate conclusion, just a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions. I realise that this is book number one and there is another to follow that will possible clear this all up but for the reader who doesn’t get the opportunity to read No. 2 it will be very disappointing.

Regina Staier – Writers’ Web Australia

Master of Illusion: Book 1 by Anne Rouen is a dense novel that does well to keep reader’s interested by using a number of different narrative devices. In particular, I felt that the inner dialogue of the central character of each Part, Elise, Madam Dupont and The Master, included at the beginning of a chapter, and the order in which the main character’s stories were presented, built a solid character-reader relationship that kept the reader interested in a forward moving plot.

However, I did find that at times the dialogue was underdeveloped and the story in general took a while to come back around to the ideas presented in the Prologue, where initially I felt I was reading a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story but which quickly fell away into a more ‘romantic novel’ rather than ‘crime novel’ mode.  The book is well suited to a female young-adult, adult audience as it is full of romance and charming men and suits a long Sunday evening where you have nothing to do but get lost in the Victorian-Parisian life of Elise and those surrounding her life

Debi Benstead – Writers’ Web Australia

A young village girl is given the chance to become a ballerina and is moved from her family to Paris. It is 1864 and despite not having yet learned to write, Elise Dupont begins her diary. She is an innocent, a compassionate and generous girl with great talent surrounded by people protecting her from the evils of society.

Elise soon meets Angel and so begins her task of caring for this young boy who is both physically and mentally damaged. Throughout the book he is emotionally unstable, insensitive to others and often violent.

Their’s is a story of good and evil, triumph and tragedy. Of the destruction of innocence and the struggle to define justice with similarities to both Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera.

The reader is easily transported to this time in Paris and Rouen uses descriptive language and the insertion of French words and phrases to support the setting. The characters are complex and the plot is well developed, if a little predictable.

Readers of historical fiction will enjoy this book and may be pleased to realize that the ending is left so that another book may follow the story further.

Judith Flitcroft – Writers’ Web Australia

In your synopsis, Anne, you wrote that your story was one of “murder, magic, music and obsession”. How true! The story had a beautiful ethereal quality at the onset and slowly descended into darkness where death and demons flourish and the talk reverberates of death and murder.

As I am an absolute fan of “Phantom of the Opera”, often playing the movie and the music over and over, I could see the parallels running along. At first, I had some difficulty about this, wondering about copyright. It felt as if I had experienced this all before. The story then turned into one that stands on its own when the leading character of Elise is raped.

I loved the way the French language is used and how the dialogue is set out with many instances of italics to highlight the story. So many scenes were enhanced by beautiful word pictures such as, “fingers of bright afternoon sunshine played over the rippling muscles of the Akhal-teke horses”. Characters were vividly painted and easily came to life on the page.

May the magic of Elise and Angel continue in your follow-up stories. Quite different to anything else I have read and I wish you good luck in your writing endeavours.

Judge, Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards

A dark romance filled with passion and yearning, I was intrigued by this Phantom of the Opera-esqe story of love and fulfillment. The characters really make the story shine. And the author has done a beautiful job of making this historical romance come to life.  I appreciate the effort put into the research and the realism that getting it right means to the quality of the story. While the plot is not quite as strong as the characters, the story holds its own and wraps up nicely despite the length.

I do enjoy the diary-like story telling method that the author has chosen to use here. And loved the ballet details. Even for those of us who are only mildly educated in the ways of dance this is easy to follow and quite enjoyable.

The characterization is top notch!

Ratings: 5 out of 5 for Character Development, 4 out of 5 for Grammar, 3 out of 5 for Plot. Average Rating across all categories: 3.6 out of 5

By Warren Thurston, Playwright – Aussie Authors 

3 out of 4 – Good Read! “Master of Illusion is a book I recommend to those who love Historical Fiction”

Anne Rouen’s book is a historical romance with a black heart. Madam Dupont, owner of Opera Francais, and her longtime friend Angel, Master of Illusion, partake in a life-long battle. When Madam Dupont (Elise) was six years old, she came under the protective wing of Madame Aranova. Taken from her family because of her dancing talent, Elise became the darling of Opera Francais. This change of fortune in her life started a complex chain of events that would never let Elise return to her roots.

When Elise is twelve years old, she is out in the streets of Paris enjoying the sights of the 1870 Mardi Gra. The gaiety of the celebration captures her imagination, yet she is exposed to a scene that will forever change her. A group of thugs are set upon a gypsy boy, who is curled in a gutter in an attempt to cushion the blows that rain down upon him. Elise is spurred into action and takes action to make the thugs flee. She is shocked by the state of the boy’s disfigured face, one side is badly scarred.

The boy is grateful for her intervention and when he tells her a little about himself, Elise’s heart opens to him. Ten years old and an orphan, the boy claims he has killed a wicked gypsy in self defence. Elise agrees to give the boy shelter in the basement of Opera Francais, and so develops a long and tumultuous friendship between the two. She discovers the boy has talents that fit in well with Opera Francais. He can sing like an angel and play the organ like a master. To give him a name, Elise christens the boy Angel.

Over the next several decades Elise and Angel travel a complex path filled with love, rage, lust and treachery. Elise becomes the owner of Opera Francais, through an unlikely marriage. Angel fights his own increasingly violent inner demons and assumes a new identity to thwart the Paris police and others that want to do him harm.

Armed with a new talent, illusions, Angel becomes known as “The Master”. Soon he is the most adored artist in all Paris and begins working for Elise’s new company, “Opera Magigue”. This development applies pressure to the relationship between Elise and Angel that threatens to destroy them both.

Anne Rouen has penned a historical novel that lovers of the genre will enjoy. The story overall is well-paced. There are a few slow spots, but they don’t detract from the novel’s impact. I liked the personal diary writing style, which for me made for easy reading. The conflict between the characters I found believable and kept up my interest in their fate.

The book is, book one, of a series set in late nineteenth century France. “Master of Illusion” is a book I recommend to those who love historical fiction.

Diane Nash (Member of Tamworth Book Club)

Anne Rouen has written a historical novel containing the necessary ingredients that makes a story a great read. Hidden truths, intrigue and passion keep the reader captivated till the last page.

An engaging plot with vivid characters wrapped in mystery. Here is an emerging Australian writer that needs to be taken seriously.

Amazon Reviews:

5 out of 5 stars Christmas Present January 30, 2015 By Robyn E Hill

Rarely do I sit down and read a book…until someone bought this book for me for Christmas. I absolutely LOVED it and will definitely make time to read book two. I cant even remember the last time I got totally lost in a book. It was the highlight of my Christmas!! I have now bought Master of Illusion book 1 for 5 friends! Pay it Forward!!!!

5 out of 5 stars Wonderful new Phantom Novel Oct 3, 2013 By mesadallas

I love Phantom based novels and this one is a winner! I won’t go into a plot explanation because I think readers can read this in the book description. I will say that If you are a Phan I think you are going to love this new telling of The Phantom of the Opera – it’s one of the best ones I’ve read! The story is interesting, original, and well-written and considering how many Phan books and Phanfiction stories there are this isn’t always an easy task to accomplish. Brava to the author and I can’t wait for the second book in this series to come out!

5 out of 5 stars Master of Illusion by Anne Rouen July 15, 2013 By Singin’ the Blues

Loved this story about Angel and Elise. I sure hope Book II ends up better for these two than the original POTO story. They have so much going for them. Hoping Angel
(The Master of Illusion) is her flower giver, and they both quit playing games with each other.

5 out of 5 stars A great read July 15, 2013 By Peppiere

I loved this book with its wonderfully complex characters, and the unpredictable story line.The interaction and deep friendship between the damaged, disfigured genius Angel, and the strong ,compassionate Elise, make for an exciting read.The streets of 19th century France came alive for me, as did all the characters. It’s well written and the story flows well.Can’t wait for book 2 to find out what happens next.

5 out of 5 stars Really good read, April 28, 2013 By Mr Richard TK Smith

I loved this book…..I couldn’t stop until the end. The characters stayed true and I could almost “smell” the era, the ballet house, the streets etc. I t really put me in the time of the book and I am really looking forward to more of the same. I thought the writer showed great imagination and skill, as a reader I always found it truly believable, not like some books where you know what is going to happen next and you are inclined to skip forward and leave bits out. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to get absorbed by a book and to feel good by the end. Great read!

5 out of 5 stars 12:42pm..and just finished! April 21, 2013 By Jo

I really enjoyed this book- It is very cleverly written, has enjoyable characters and has left me waiting for Book 2. I generally read a wide variety of genres, however usually I find avoid books of a nature that I am unfamiliar with, and stick to my tried and trues: murder, crime, equine, bios, rural…but never ballet/opera: having said that, I really loved this book and I am hoping its not a long wait for the next one , because I have questions!! CONGRATULATIONS Anne… you have a new fan…

Goodreads Reviews:

J’s review Apr 23,2013 5 out of 5 stars

An historical fiction, set within the opera/ballet scenes of France; Master Of Illusion has a wide scope of believable and loveable characters. With a smattering of basic french phraseology throughout, attention to character development and a scene set for intrigue this novel is one that rises far above the calibre of those currently in the best seller lists. It is a clever, well planned piece of writing that has the ability to become a series of repute.
The author has set upon the literary scene with a decidely refined and ladylike bang.
I loved it. It is also far, far outside my usual preference, even within the historical genre and I told myself to be a big girl and try it, even though operatic and dance sagas are not remotely within my fields if interest.
It was beyond expectation, and for 2 very late nights with little sleep, I could not put it down. I am now hanging, as I wait for book two to be written/released, and will read Master of Illusion again as a refresher … and I DO NOT read books twice.
Brilliant! One of the BEST books I have read in the last 5 years.

Kerry’s review Apr 29, 2013 5 out of 5 stars

As an avid reader of Historical Fiction (particularly Georgette Heyer and Philippa Gregory), I was pleasantly surprised by this work, by a new and unknown author, Anne Rouen.

I really enjoy this style of writing, and I felt the suspense was conveyed very well. The main characters, Angel and Elise, were introduced very thoroughly, and by following them from childhood, you really get to know them well. Angel idolised the Phantom of the Opera, and you do see how he builds those qualities into his life, so for fans of all things Phantom, there are some nice synergies, but things turn out very differently for him. So, people who aren’t a fan of the Phantom, don’t feel you have to know or understand that story at all, because you don’t. It stands alone as a strong, epic, storyline.

This is obviously the first book of a series, and so there are definitely some things left up in the air that you really want to find out about, but as a stand-alone story, it also wraps things up well enough, so you feel as though you’ve got enough closure.

All in all, an interesting tale, and I look forward to seeing when the sequel comes out. Without giving anything away, I do have some preferences for who certain people ought to end up with, and possibly, I guess that could still happen. So there is also an element of romance and romantic potential here.

Five stars: I couldn’t put it down.


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