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BOOK CORNER: 19th century California explored in ‘The Engine Woman’s Light’

After a mystical vision of an airship appears to 15-year-old Juanita, the captain commands her to prevent California’s thrown away people from boarding trains to an asylum where the institution’s director plots murder to reduce the inmate population. To save innocent lives, Juanita must take the lives of the corrupt. How will she reconcile this assignment with her belief that all lives are sacred?

Find out in “The Engine Woman’s Light” by Laurel Anne Hill.

A dream Hill had about an elderly woman and an abandoned infant girl served as the initial inspiration for her book. “The resulting short story I wrote never worked,” Hill said. “Subplots burdened its structure, all of them failing to address the destiny of the rescued child.

“I had a novel on my hands, a book that would take me 20 years to complete.”

The author’s husband and her great grandmother inspired her to complete this project.

“‘The Engine Woman’s Light’ is not the story of my great-grandmother, but it is the story of a young woman of color whose integrity, inner strength and faith provide the ability to cope with trauma and survive,” Hill said. “It is a tale I needed to tell and the voices of my characters reminded me many times.”

“The Engine Woman’s Light” is intended for mature teen or adult fantasy lovers.

“My book is a dystopian spirits-meet-steampunk tale,” Hill said. “My ideal reader can deal with gadgets and grit.”

Laurel Anne Hill

Her book addresses topics that are a part of the human experience such as love, loyalty, loss, honor, family, abandonment, abuse, forgiveness and redemption.

The protagonist, Juanita, is the author’s favorite character.

“She’s determined to do things correctly,” Hill said. “There are a lot of things she has trouble dealing with but she goes back and gives it her all.”

Hill is an author and former underground storage tank operator. She lives in Orinda, California. To learn more about the author, visit her website at

“The Engine Woman’s Light” is available for $29.95 (Laminated Hard Cover), $19.95 (Trade Paper Cover), and $4.99 (Kindle e-book) online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borderlands Books in San Francisco, and a variety of other book websites.

By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer