Monday, September 24, 2018

The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell's third novel set in France takes readers to Provence in a story that spans more than a century, and a story that spans so much heartbreak. Can an American who never had a family find the way to reunite a bitter, broken man with the family that never accepted him? Blackwell's  The Lost Carousel of Provence is a moving story of loss and, in the end, hope.

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

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.


SandyG265 said...

My library has this on order so I put a hold on it. Can you freeze a library card? I already have 27 books on hold and about 8 out. Plus about a hundred free ones on my kindle. I actually passed when my boyfriend offered to stop at a book sale yesterday. I feel like I’m never going to catch up.

Lesa said...

I love that question, Sandy, "Can you freeze a library card?" Hi, my name is Lesa, and I'm a book addict, too.

Charlotte said...

Sandy and Lesa, you both are being funny this morning. Made me laugh.
That was a good question. My answer is it is to late for all of us. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š

Juliet Blackwell said...

Thank you, Lesa, for the thoughtful review! A book launch is never complete until I read your review of my book :-D . I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Lesa said...

Charlotte, Good way to start a Monday morning, with a laugh. You're right. It's too late.

Lesa said...

Good morning, Juliet! Thank you. I know you've been talking with my friend Kaye Wilkinson Barley about carousels and France. Kaye read it first, and loved it. Thank you for your kind note about my review. Good luck, Juliet!

Sharon said...

I enjoyed THE PARIS Key so I've got this one on reserve. Thanks for the review Lesa. We are on our way to the Biltmore. I am so excited!

Lesa said...

You should be excited, Sharon! Have a wonderful day at the Biltmore!

Nancy Lee said...

Just finished reading the Lost Carousel of Provence.
Art and sculpture is not my passion. I cannot make any sense out of the French language.
But, I was enthralled with the Lost Carousel.....
Juliet Blackwell is a wonderful story teller. Her characters are believable and likeable. Her details give a perfect sense of time and place.
I really cared what happened to Cady and Fabrice. A great book for a book club. The paperback edition has questions about the book at the end.