In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a steampunk novel, a work of historical fiction, a mystery, a memoir, and a pictorial history of the station wagon.
★ The Electrical Menagerie
Mollie E. Reeder
Synopsis: This delightful steampunk novel follows impoverished magician Sylvester Carthage and his assistant, Arbrook Huxley, as they compete to perform for the future queen of their fantastical land, despite the danger lurking behind the scenes.
PW’s Takeaway: Fantasy and steampunk fans will be amazed by this magical tale of mystery, illusion, and friendship.
Comparable Title: Stephanie Garber’s Caraval
Sample Line: “Holding the book in his lap, Sylvester turned another page and continued to dream.”
Hard Cider Abbey
Synopsis: Odo LeRoi, a young monk, is transferred to an abbey in West Virginia, where he encounters an eclectic cast of hard cider–brewing monks and stumbles upon a corpse.
PW’s Takeaway: Cecala crafts a quirky mystery with two unlikely sleuths and an exceptionally appealing setting. Readers will be eager for more adventures from the endearing duo.
Comparable Title: Cristina Sumners’s Crooked Heart
Sample Line: “Once the body had been removed and taken back to the abbey, Emerick and Odo remained in the woods.”
Will Bodine and John Jordan
Synopsis: A pictorial history and celebration of the glories of the station wagon.
PW’s Takeaway: Sporting gorgeous color photographs, this well-researched tribute will charm nostalgic car enthusiasts.
Comparable Title: Phil Patton’s 20th Century Classic Cars
A Christian Life Without Father God
Synopsis: Goff details her experiences growing up without a father figure.
PW’s Takeaway: An uplifting story that will be welcomed by Christian readers.
Comparable Title: Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved
Love and Mutiny
Synopsis: A stimulating journey to mid-19th-century India.
PW’s Takeaway: The convincing setting and rich descriptions bolster the vibrant cast of characters.
Comparable Title: Sujata Massey’s The Widows of Malabar Hill