Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Lost Carousel of Provence - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

Rating: Really Liked It
Source: NetGalley

Description:  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.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book: A story about investigating a mystery from the past will always pull at me and I love the carousel element.

My Impression:  Oh this was such a great escapist read!  I was transported to Paris and then to a small town in Provence and a dilapidated chateau with an incredible history.  The book has three time lines - present day, early 1900s when the carousel was being built, and occupied Paris during World War II.  Some of it heartwarming and some is heartbreaking but I found all of it interesting. 

I liked Cady right from the start and I felt quite a bit of sympathy for her.  She's had a hard time of it and some of the baggage has led to her never feeling like she belongs or that she's likable.  She's not overly prickly or hard but she's unsure of her role in people's life and in her own abilities.  Watching her get to know the people in Avignon was really sweet and while the conflict was easy to guess I was happy with how it was resolved.  The two past timelines were much more heartbreaking but made it possible to see how the carousel came to be and what shaped the people that lived in the Chateau Clement. 

This was a wonderful way to visit Paris as well as the countryside of Provence.  Blackwell engaged me, transported me, and kept me thoroughly entertained throughout this story. 

I listened to the audio version of this that was narrated by Xe Sands and as usual she did a wonderful job.  I had just listened to an audio book with a narrator that did not work for me so Sands was a welcome listen.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I loved this one and am looking forward to reading more fiction from Blackwell.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely! 

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Thank you for this recommendation, I will add it to my audible list. Love the setting and the carousel tour.

  2. Thanks for the review. I have seen this around for a long time but could not get it!

  3. That sounds amazing. I could use some armchair traveling. As I had been sick recently I decided to grab a favorite book, The Shell Seeker by Rosamunde Pilcher. I need comfort reading!

  4. I remember seeing readers with this when it came out. Great that it worked so well on audio, makes a good book even better. Think i've listened though only to one by Xe Sands.

  5. C'est bien, Katherine! It sounds as if this is just the job for a lovely escapist romp:). Great review.

  6. Oh, this sounds wonderful! Each of the timelines sound well done and great characters go a long way. I will have to look for this one.

  7. Sounds like a fun one! I'm pretty sure I have this book around here somewhere ...

  8. I want to read this one. It sounds good.

  9. This sounds really good. The fact that it starts in present day SF, my hometown, caught my interest.