Welcome to Perky's Books & Gifts where gardening books blossom into bouquets, cookbooks sizzle with succulent juices, and military history books can be lethal. Don't mind the mutilated body behind the werewolf display, or the fact that the cafe manager is an egregore; Frankenstein was one, too. The story of Perky's Books & Gifts begins with murder and ends with true love. It is told by Madison, Perky's night manager. She must band with her quirky (maybe just plain crazy) staff to figure out just what is making the books spring to life and terrorize the store.
Laughing Humans are the descendants of a colonizing ship that crashed on the planet Bicanthra III 500 years earlier, and have been raised as animals in a zoo by the indigenous sentient beings of that planet. Their speech has atrophied because of their severe religious belief (one only speaks to praise god), but they laugh, giving rise to their name. They are a strongly female-dominated clan.
Invaders come and go, but the island remains. When Germans occupy the English Channel Island Helierhou during WWII, Delamair befriends the general and does what she can to make life better for all involved. But when the general is replaced, she discovers the new colonel, Karl von Kruppstieg, expects more from her than she has ever given anyone. He believes he owns the island, and her. In the background, Captain Luther Sizemore waits and finally teaches her that love and intimacy are more precious than even life itself.