Second Sight follows Joseph Ehrlich in 1864, the time of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. Joseph is just an average boy living in a boardinghouse with a struggling family. However, Joseph and his father are steadily working on a clever mind reading act (a hoax) that rises up to amaze all of Washington, DC. He and his father use an elaborate verbal code to stun audiences, including the great actor John Wilkes Booth and President Lincoln.
Meanwhile, a strange, quiet girl named Cassandra and her strict father come to the boardinghouse. Joseph, curious about her shy behavior, befriends her. He discovers that Cassandra gives advice about the future as “Mademoiselle Delphine.” Joseph suspects that her act, like his, is all a fake, but upon further searching and help from the little spy next door, he finds that Cassandra has true second sight, meaning that she can look into the future or past.
Cassandra and Joseph become the closest of friends, and Joseph’s act keeps getting better and more elaborate. Just when Joseph thinks life is the best it could be, Cassandra reveals a vision that is so unheard of that no one but Joseph believes her. She uncovers a divination that suggests that President Lincoln will be assassinated. However, her vision is very vague, so that combined with the extraordinary topic she is suggesting, not one person takes her seriously. Cassandra and Joseph struggle to save President Lincoln’s life, and change the world.
This novel blends what happened and what would have happened in this great historical fiction book. The author also manages to fit in some fantastical elements such as seeing into the future, or “Second Sight”.
Good for: 10 & up, historical fiction lovers, adventure fanatics