Monday, September 24, 2018
The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell
In 1901, Josephine Clement has everything she could want. Her husband even hires the a famous carousel designer, Gustave Bayol, who sends his team to Provence to assemble his latest carousel on the grounds of Chateau Clement. But, Josephine and Yves did not have a child to ride that carousel. And, their story ends in tragedy, but it's a story shared by a mysterious woman who appears only in a couple photos. Readers know her as Moelle, a young woman desperate to become a carver.
In the 1940s in Paris, Fabrice Clement has run away from home to be part of the Resistance. He falls in love with a woman named Paulette, but when he finally returns home, he discovers his family has been betrayed to the Nazis. For years, Fabrice pours his heart and betrayal into his writing, but he's finally a bitter old man rejecting and fighting with family while living in the ruins of Chateau Clement.
It's all just a fluke that Cady Anne Drake ends up at Chateau Clement. She's from Oakland, California, where she was orphaned, grew up in foster homes and institutions, and was rescued from a life of crime by the owner of a an antiques and collectibles store. When Maxine dies, Cady hopes her carved rabbit, Gus, will provide some income. Gus was supposed to have been carved by Gustave Bayol, but even Gus lets Cady down. In her search for answers, she ends up in Paris, and then at Chateau Clement.
Blackwell skillfully combines three storylines into a fascinating story of one family struggling with its history, and the women who impact that history, one in 1900 and one today. It's a bittersweet story of loneliness and betrayal. But, one lonely American and her passion for a carved figure from the early twentieth century could change the direction of the Clement family's lives.
If you admire carousels, novels set in France, or family sagas and secrets, take a chance on Blackwell's moving novel, The Lost Carousel of Provence.
Juliet Blackwell's website is www.julietblackwell.net
The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell. Berkley. 2018. ISBN 9780451490636 (paperback), 384p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.