This narrative switches back and forth from the point of view of Cady, a contemporary woman from San Francisco who finds herself drawn to Provence; Maelle, a young woman from Bretagne who wants to carve carousel figures; and Patrice Clement, a young man from Paris whose family owns Chateau Clement.
The stories of each of these are intertwined and revolve around a wooden carousel figure, a rabbit, that may have come from a missing Bayol carousel.
As a youth, Cady grows up in a string of foster homes and, thus, learns to mistrust everyone. When Maxine of Maxine’s Treasures takes Cady in, Cady’s world brightens. For the first time, Cady has a home and feels loved. Under Maxine’s guidance, Cady learns to love the fine art of cooking and photography.
When Maxine dies, however, Cady’s world is upended. Maxine has given her a carousel animal that both believed was a valuable carving, a Bayol. Cady becomes determined to find the relic’s origins and produce a book of photographs of Parisian carousels.
Upon arrival in France, Cady becomes intrigued by Jean-Paul who has a connection to her rabbit. His ancestral home is Chateau Clement, the location of the missing Bayol carousel that “Gus” may have come from.
Blackwell brings the characters to life with exquisite skill. Cady, a loner, befriends the cantankerous relative of Jean-Paul, Patrice Clement. The old man hides a tortured past; As a young man, he worked for the Resistance during World War II and was betrayed by someone he trusted. Cady, however, wins him over with her own brand of Oakland charm.
What is truly marvelous is that the novel is not just about varnishing old, forgotten carousel figures; its also about making connections among people others have given up on. Maxine mentored Cady when she was a young delinquent which results in Cady reaching out to Johnny and Fabrice.
A key to understanding the novel involves deciphering a poem in Fabrice’s novel which mentions “Anon.”
The Lost Carousel of Provence has plenty of intrigue, romance, and historically accurate details that will enthrall readers.
Gustave Bayol is a historical figure who did carve carousels in Angers. He did carve barnyard animals for carousels that have since become collector’s items.
Other Juliet Blackwell books you may enjoy:
Letters From Paris.
The Paris Key.
The Vineyards from Champagne.