July 4, 2018

The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

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.

American photographer Cady Drake shoots local merry-go-rounds, a hobby inspired by a carved wooden rabbit gifted to her following her troubled years in foster care. Now at a crisis point in her life, Cady can't refuse a freelance assignment that will send her to Paris to document its antique carousels. While there, she hopes to track down the true origins of her rabbit, which she always believed to be carved by French carousel maker Gustave Bayol.

Cady's research leads her to Provence, where she discovers a dilapidated carousel carved by Bayol for the grand Château Clement in the early 1900s. After commissioning the carousel, the Clement family struggled to maintain their ancestral home through the two World Wars, buffeted by jealousies passed down through the generations.

Despite the carousel's derelict state, Cady longs to restore it--if she can secure the permission of the run-down château's gruff, elderly owner, a man with secrets of his own. 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.

I recently read this book for the Extreme Book Nerd Challenge - A book about books and loved it! This was a story that I couldn't put down. It took me a little bit to adjust to the time period changes between chapters but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading. Cady was an amazing character and the only thing I would change is I'd love to know what happened once the carver arrived in San Francisco. Maybe another book? I hope so!

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