Title: The Lost Carousel of Provence
Author: Juliet Blackwell
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction
An artist lost to history, a family abandoned to its secrets, and the woman whose search for meaning unearths it all in a sweeping and expressive story from the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris .
Present day, San Francisco. During her free time, professional photographer Cady Drake shoots local carousels, a hobby inspired by a gift that transformed her childhood: a wooden rabbit supposedly created by master French carver Gustave Bayol a century ago. And when she's offered a freelance assignment for a book on the antique merry-go-rounds of Paris, Cady can't refuse the opportunity to visit the famous carousels for the first time....
1900s, France. In a small town outside of Avignon, a husband and young wife struggle to keep up their ancestral chateau--and start the family they so desperately desire. For the children they hope to have, the Clements hire the famous Bayol to build a carousel, but as the carver and his apprentice work on the beautiful and whimsical creation, fate will entwine them all in unseen ways--for generations to come...
Present day, Provence. As Cady's research leads her to the dilapidated Chateau Clement and its fabled carousel that was lost to the ravages of World War II, she will uncover a shocking truth in a set of one-hundred-year-old photographs that could guide her in reuniting a family torn apart by petty jealousies over several generations.
Still reeling from the death of her dear friend and the woman who took her in when the world wanted to forget her, Cady Drake is at a loss at what to do with her life. She feels lost and alone. A good friend of hers suggests she take a trip, maybe to Paris, to get a new perspective. Her friend suggests taking her camera and photographing some pictures, maybe for a coffee table book. An idea forms in Cady’s head, one that not only feels right but will change her life.
For as long as she can remember, Cady has been fascinated by carousels. It started when she was an orphan and continued through to the present. There’s something magical about them, a gateway to the past and a window to the future.
Once in Paris, she starts taking some amazing pictures of carousels. While researching, she stumbles across the mystery of the Chateau Clement and its legendary carousel. As she tries to unravel the mystery and the Clement family history, she encounters a handsome Parisian man who offers to help her. He stirs feelings long buried in her. Cady’s instinct is to run when things get emotional but the more she’s around Chateau Clement and its recluse inhabitant, the more she senses she’s home. Is this where she belongs or will everyone abandon her like so many have over the years?
Never in my life have I read a book that reminds me of my time in Paris with such clarity as this one. Not only did it transport me back in time through various time periods, but it touched me deeply. From the parts where we learn about the female sculptor in the early 1900’s to the resistant movement against the Nazis in World War II to present day, Chateau Clement is alive and casting a spell on the characters and the reader at the same time. It wasn’t so much reading as experiencing the highs and lows of life. Friendship, betrayal, greed, classism, art and love all play a part in this story. Heart-breaking at times, The Lost Carousel of Provence will steal your breath away.
A must read and the best book I’ve had the pleasure to read in 2018.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it.
My Rating: 5+ stars
Buy it now:
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Carousel-Provence-Juliet-Blackwell-ebook/dp/B0782SGJRD
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/Lost-Carousel-Provence-Juliet-Blackwell-ebook/dp/B0782SGJRD
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Carousel-Provence-Juliet-Blackwell-ebook/dp/B0782SGJRD
Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany. While in graduate school she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Viet Nam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught Medical Anthropology at SUNY-Albany, was producer for a BBC documentary about Vietnamese children left behind by US soldiers, and worked as an elementary school social worker in rural New York. Upon her return to California she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting, historical renovation, and domestic design studio for more than a decade. In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times Bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind she wrote the Agatha-Award nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America. Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California, but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. She believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N