Author: Juliet Blackwell
Published by Berkley Books on September 18, 2018
Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Format: eBook, ARC
Source: Berkley Publishing, NetGalley
Book Rating: 8/10
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.
Intriguing, atmospheric, and uplifting!
The Lost Carousel of Provence is an alluring tale predominantly set in the majestic southeastern region of France during the early 1900s, as well as present day, and is told from three different perspectives. Maelle, an independent, hardworking young woman struggling to showcase her talents and prove her worth in a male-dominated environment. Fabrice, a lonely, elderly man who has sacrificed, endured and lived a life weighed down by deception, regret, and unrequited love. And Cady an intelligent, independent, young woman who endeavours to photograph all the lost carousels of France and uncover all the stories and secrets that surround them.
The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are scarred, complex, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, life, family, friendship, community, mystique, heartbreak, romance, secrets, passion, loyalty, as well as a little insight into the designing and building of some of the most famous merry-go-rounds of all time.
Overall, The Lost Carousel of Provence is an informative, romantic, mysterious tale that is a well-written, exceptionally researched, beautiful, picture postcard of the history, landmarks, culture, culinary fare, and lost art forms of a country Blackwell obviously loves and knows well.
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Thank you to NetGalley, especially Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.