Thank you to Berkley Publishing for sending me a free review copy of The Lost Carousel of Provence in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis from the publisher:
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.
Long, lonely years have passed for the crumbling Château Clement, nestled well beyond the rolling lavender fields and popular tourist attractions of Provence. Once a bustling and dignified ancestral estate, now all that remains is the château’s gruff, elderly owner and the softly whispered secrets of generations buried and forgotten.
But time has a way of exposing history’s dark stains, and when American photographer Cady Drake finds herself drawn to the château and its antique carousel, she longs to explore the relic’s shadowy origins beyond the small scope of her freelance assignment. As Cady digs deeper into the past, unearthing century-old photographs of the Clement carousel and its creators, she might be the one person who can bring the past to light and reunite a family torn apart.
The Lost Carousel of Provence is a unique historical fiction novel that weaves past and present together to show that family always stands the test of time, no matter the differences. Although I was a little unsure at the beginning, I found myself really enjoying this book, it has a lot going for it.
My favorite aspect of this book was the carousel history and descriptions that were sprinkled throughout the whole novel. I loved learning about how carousel’s were made and the level of reverence people had for them in years past. Just a few days after I finished reading this book, I went to a new-to-me mall inside of which there was a carousel. Internally I was shouting “Oh, hey! A carousel!” and took a much closer look at it than I would have before. I love anytime a book changes my view of the world around me!
The serene Provence countryside setting in this novel was also beautiful detailed. Blackwell did a good job of describing not only the scenery but also the differences in culture between people in small French villages and Americans. Cady passed out many American saying to the French people she met that didn’t translate well and had me feeling embarrassed for her.
Cady’s character was well developed and her backstory as a foster child was woven into the story in small little bursts that helped the reader understand her actions better. The reclusive Mr. Clement was also well developed and had my heart. However, I felt that the supporting characters weren’t as well developed and I found some of their interactions with each other to be a little unnatural, especially in the beginning. But once the story took off, I didn’t notice this as much.
Overall I did really like this book. I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading which is always a good sign! I rate this one 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to any historical fiction lover!