Victoria Kelly


A captivamrs-houdini-9781501110900_hrting debut novel, meticulously researched and beautifully imagined, about the passionate marriage of Harry and Bess Houdini—a love story that defied death itself.

Before escape artist Harry Houdini died, he vowed he would find a way to speak to his beloved wife Bess from beyond the grave using a coded message known only to the two of them. When a widowed Bess begins seeing this code in seemingly impossible places, it becomes clear that Harry has an urgent message to convey. Unlocking the puzzle will set Bess on a course back through the pair’s extraordinary romance, which swept the illusionist and his bride from the beaches of Coney Island, to the palaces of Budapest, to the back lots of Hollywood. When the mystery finally leads Bess to the doorstep of a mysterious young photographer, she realizes that her husband’s magic may have been more than just illusion.

In surprising turns that weave through the uncertain days of the dawn of the twentieth century and continue into the dazzling 1920s, Mrs. Houdini is a thrilling tale that will take you deep into the heart of one of history’s greatest love stories—asking what drives people to believe in something bigger than themselves—even as it reveals the famous magician’s most remarkable feat of all.

Rights: Atria, World English; Laguna, Serbia


When a high school student vanishes from a New Jersey suburb, the town panics. Fifteen-year-old twins Emmy and Prue are drawn into a kidnapping investigation after a man appears in their backyard, an encounter that lands Emmy in the hospital with severe kidney damage. Prue must reconcile her love for her sister with a desire for her own independence, while Emmy, in her fragile condition, becomes increasingly convinced that they are the only ones who can find the missing girl. Where People Go When They Disappear examines the tenuous line between a sibling’s envy and love, and how tragedy can affect us in the most terrible—and beautiful—of ways.

Many facts and details in the novel are loosely based on an unsolved disappearance of Antoinette Cayedito in the ’80s.

Victoria Kelly received her B.A. Summa Cum Laude from Harvard University, her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her M.Phil. in Creative Writing from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where she was a U.S. Mitchell Scholar. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in dozens of anthologies and journals including The Best American Poetry series, Alaska Quarterly ReviewSouthwest ReviewPrairie Schooner, and North American Review, among others. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

Victoria attracted the notice of many esteemed writers in her years of study, and we recently received the following:

“Victoria Kelly is destined to become one of the essential voices of her generation. She has all of the writer’s essential gifts: originality and grace of language, depth of mind and—perhaps most critical of all—a questing and generous heart. I have followed this young writer since I was lucky enough to meet her as a college undergrad, and I am holding my breath to see where her talents will take her.”—Geraldine Brooks

Manuscript in development.