cover image Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary

Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary

Laura Stanfill. Lanternfish, $18.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-941360-61-3

Stanfill’s charming, lite-fantasy debut, set in the mid-1800s, follows the life of Henri Blanchard in the tiny French town of Mireville. Henri’s father, Georges, a master craftsman of serinettes, sells his hand-cranked organs to canary breeders who train their birds to sing. Henri has his work cut out for him trying to get out of his father’s shadow: as a baby, Georges magically changed Mireville’s weather. But Henri is no Sun-Bringer—and the secret letters from New York that he finds in his father’s dresser prove that he isn’t even Georges’s first-born son. Then one icy winter day, Henri brings a frozen cat back to life and learns he has powers of his own. It’s a fickle talent, however, and after a tragedy he is helpless to reverse, Henri is framed for a murder that tears Mireville apart. Now Henri must follow his father’s footsteps all the way to New York, to meet his half-brother, find his best friend, and clear his name. This gentle story is flavored only lightly with magic, instead relying on families of vivid characters, carefully detailed scene setting, and delicately gilded writing to create a cozy and enjoyable environment. Fans of Joanne Harris will find plenty to admire. Agent: Laurie Fox, Linda Chester Literary. (Apr.)