In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a travel memoir, a Persian cookbook, a cozy mystery, a work of literary fiction, and a pirate adventure for young readers.
The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover by Susan Wittig Albert
Synopsis: When a member of the local barbershop quartet is killed, it’s up to Alabama Sheriff Buddy Norris and the amateur sleuths at the garden club to crack the case.
PW’s Takeaway: Readers will welcome this charming look at a small Southern town.
Comparable Titles: Alyse Carlson’s Garden Society Mystery series
Sample Line: “Two of the Lucky Four Clovers were destined to have some very bad luck, very soon. One would lose his voice. And another would end up dead.”
Playing House in Provence by Mary-Lou Weisman
Synopsis: A funny, candid account of four monthlong stays in Provence by a couple who hoped to become “so French that we wouldn’t like Americans either.”
PW’s Takeaway: Weisman enthusiastically shares with readers the moments we live for: good food, wine, and conversation. Particularly for the over-60 set, this will be an enjoyable study.
Comparable Title: Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence
Sample Line: “My husband, Larry, and I don’t want to tour a foreign country; we want to become part of it.”
Pirate Queen by H.N. Klett
Synopsis: The high-seas adventures of Hailey Heartstone, daughter of a merchant sea captain.
PW’s Takeaway: Klett’s novel will captivate readers with its slow unspooling of mysteries.
Comparable Title: Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse
Jewels of Persia by Sharon B-Nejad
Synopsis: B-Nejad recreates some of her husband’s favorite Persian dishes in this colorful cookbook.
PW’s Takeaway: Home cooks are sure to find plenty of inspiration in this transportive and eye-catching offering.
Comparable Title: Najmieh Batmanglij’s A Taste of Persia
The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne
Synopsis: Theresa Turner takes a teaching position in Iraq, where her life become enmeshed with those of the locals.
PW’s Takeaway: This story of sisterhood, motherhood, and nationhood should appeal.
Comparable Title: Andre Brink’s A Dry White Season