As a firstborn son of a master craftsman, Henri Blanchard is expected to inherit the family barrel organ workshop, but he would prefer to make bobbin lace like his best friend Aimée. In an effort to put his misgivings aside and prove himself a worthy heir, he attempts dramatic feats that draw derision from the townsfolk and finally land him in jail, accused of murder. Threatened with the hangman's noose, he is forced to flee the cozy village of Mireville—and discover a world beyond that may be big enough for even the rarest bird to find a nest.
Charming ... Our story — and this is how Stanfill presents her tale — is told with moments of fantasy and many moving parts and characters ... Stanfill’s lyrical phrasing sings along with the musical themes that fill these pages...and creates a narrative that engages and entertains the reader. Her words are enchanting and fit the story well ... Yet no novel is perfect. In Stylish Canary one questions how the characters seem so little affected by historical events of their day ... These quibbles aside — this is, after all, a kind of fairy tale — Stanfill’s debut is a delight as it circles around questions of family, friendships, and the choices we make. Lovers of music, France, and good storytelling will find much to enjoy in Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary, and in these dark times, joy is worth seeking out.
Fantastical ... Stanfill’s novel is thick with the merged language of folklores and music. Evocative details capture the nineteenth century French countryside, where a sense of the miraculous persists, even as the rest of France modernizes. From the smells, sounds, and heat of a New York aviary, to the cold chill of a French jail cell, each setting is enrapturing. And though the novel’s ending somewhat abandons the magic that preceded it, Henri’s tale remains captivating throughout. Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary is a moving debut about the worlds that open when a parent dares to love their child without reserve.
Laura Stanfill's debut novel with a folktale style as lyrical as its melodious title, beckons readers to the rainy but inviting 19th-century French village of Mireville ... Whimsical ... The novel unexpectedly turns dark, then adventurous.