Illusions of Grandeur by Kathryn Ann Kingsley – A Book Review

Posted September 2, 2020 by Booksandblurbs in Dark, PNR, Reviews, Romance / 2 Comments

Illusions of Grandeur (The Impossible Julian Strande - Book 1) by Kathryn Ann Kingsley - A Book Review #BookReview #5Stars #Dark #Ghost #Romance

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Illusions of Grandeur

(The Impossible Julian Strande – Part One)

by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dark, PNR, Duet
Available on Kindle and in Paperback

Down & Dirty

Dark, melodic and infused with ‘what if?’ – this is a magical journey, the kind Houdini could only wish for. A bit twisted and wholly entertaining.

What is it about?

(Blurb from GoodReads)

Alice has never been much for ordinary, and her new job at the mysterious Strande Mansion comes complete with strange noises, a sinister ghost, creepy legends, and a sexy amateur magician.

Of course, Alice doesn’t actually believe in ghosts, but what she encounters at the Strande Mansion has her questioning a lot of things—including whether or not her gorgeous new boss is as skilled in the bedroom as he is at illusions.

Julian Strande may have died a century ago, but that doesn’t stop him from taking a keen interest in the new caretaker of his estate. It’s been such a long time since he’s had anyone to play with. And he plans to have a great deal of fun with Alice. That is, if she doesn’t run screaming from his home first…

Author’s Note:

This book is what I would call “villain romance.” This story is for anyone who always finds the villain more interesting than the hero. That said, they are therefore sometimes not the nicest of male heroes. This story has a HEA, but it may be a tough ride getting there. This story has mature themes and content.

My Thoughts on Illusions of Grandeur

Dark, melodic and thoroughly twisted, this is another hit for Kathryn Ann Kingsley, an author who is quickly becoming known for her ‘villain romances’.  Don’t believe me? Read the Masks of Under. While completely different, from world to setting, the tales do share one feature that make them stand out from the throng of imitators…. shadowy ‘hero’s’ who indulge and delight in the fear, and sometimes pain, of others – especially the one they love the most.

There is no question that Julian Strande is a monster, yet there is something seductive about the monsters, especially THIS monster, a lulling of the soul that is pronounced as the pages stack and events move the conclusion ever closer. As we dance with Alice through this depraved Wonderland of the Strande Estate, we fall just as she does, discovering the secrets hidden in the walls while rejoicing in a growing love that is far more nebulous than Alice can possibly understand.

This is a mystery, a romance, a dark undertaking and a ghost tale, all wrapped into a macabre narrative that is more psychologically murky than it is bloody. It is not a horror story, by any means, though some may find the bumps in the night a little unnerving. Instead, it is an invitation to discover, and possibly love, an impossible man.


Third Person, Multiple POV

Ending Type



R to Adult

Romantic Dynamic


Character Age Range


My Final Verdict on Illusions of Grandeur

Wonderfully mysterious with an old school feel and modern compulsions, this is a ghost story hidden behind the guise of a romance, dashed with an eerie ambiance and sprinkled with black magic. Incredibly well written and edited, I can recommend this duet with reservations.

Illusions of Grandeur

Published May 5th, 2020
259 Pages

If you enjoyed this review of Illusions of Grandeur, please consider checking out a few of my other articles.


Your Turn

What are you reading today? Have you read this book yet? What other books by Kathryn Ann Kingsley have you enjoyed? Leave a comment, I would love to talk!



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