Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Setting: Early 1900s, 1944, and present day France, and present day Oakland, California
***I received an eARC copy of The Lost Carousel of Provence from the publisher, Berkley, via NetGalley***
*** this post contains affiliate links ***
Review: A sweet, lovely read. The Lost Carousel in Provence by Juliet Blackwell is one of those books that will make you want to travel to France, look for antiques, and start taking a daily trip to the grocery store. I really loved this book and wanted to stay within the pages and journey to France!
Told from multiple points of view, we travel back and forth in time from the early 1900s France, to WWII France, and then to modern-day Oakland, and also modern-day Paris and Provence. This back and forth with multiple third-person POVs was handled well, and I wasn’t ever confused about which POV I was reading or which setting I was in. I counted five different POVs, and usually with different time period POVs I gravitate more towards the older, more historical point of view. In The Lost Carousel in Provence however, I really enjoyed Cady’s viewpoint, our modern heroine, the most. Cady reminded me a lot of Emma from the television series Once Upon A Time. I even pictured her wearing a red leather jacket a’ la Emma Swan. She’s grown up in the foster system; she’s had a tough childhood, and emerged as a strong, capable heroine. As the book bounces back and forth between her upbringing and her in the present, you really get a sense for how her childhood and those she came into contact with helped shape her.
One of the other POV characters is Maelle Tanguy, and she’s back in the early 1900s France and works for the famous Gustave Bayol carving carousels and assisting him. Maelle was a good character and her story was interesting as it really talked a lot about how much went into making a carousel. From the carving to the mechanics, to the painting of the animals, there was far more going on than I ever expected! Maelle had probably more of a modern mindset than girls in her time actually did, and while this felt a bit forced to go with the plot, it wasn’t so far off the mark to be distracting.
There is some romance here, and while the romance was sweet and charming, some of the prose was too flowery for me. Every kiss seemed to be earth shattering, and this was just a bit too much for me! There wasn’t anything graphic at all here, and weren’t very many of these scenes, but there was just more romantic flowery prose than I really care for.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about carousels. Before reading this, I honestly didn’t think twice about carousels, but now I’m intrigued and I’m eager to head to Paris and see all of the carousels that are placed around the city. I found this blog post while searching for some images of the carousels in Paris, and wow! So gorgeous! If you needed any other encouragement to read The Lost Carousel of Provence, there’s also a chateau in desperate need of refurbishment. Be still my heart.
Bottom Line: A beautiful book that will inspire you to learn more about carousels and travel to France. I already want to re-read it!