The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

The Lost Carousel of Provence

Juliet Blackwell

American photographer Cady Drake finds herself drawn to a crumbling French château and its antique carousel. As Cady digs deeper into the past, she might be the one person who can bring the past to light and reunite a family torn apart.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Juliet Blackwell.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

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.

Long, lonely years have passed for the crumbling Château Clement, nestled well beyond the rolling lavender fields and popular tourist attractions of Provence. Once a bustling and dignified ancestral estate, now all that remains is the château's gruff, elderly owner and the softly whispered secrets of generations buried and forgotten.
But time has a way of exposing history's dark stains, and when American photographer Cady Drake finds herself drawn to the château and its antique carousel, she longs to explore the relic's shadowy origins beyond the small scope of her freelance assignment. 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.

Advance Galley Reviews

This was slow-moving at first, as I was way more invested in the present day storyline than the past. But at a certain point, some big twists were revealed in the past storyline and then I could not read fast enough to figure out what had happened and how it all connected. Cady was a fascinating character who regularly refers to herself as being socially awkward and off-putting and I wondered whether she might be neurodiverse. Regardless, I really felt for her given her history of growing up in foster care, how Maxine took her in, and how small her circle has grown since Maxine died and she divorced her husband. I loved watching her get to know all the people she met in Paris and how a more clear picture of Cady emerged. I didn't know anything about the history of carousels or that there's a difference between the ones we know in the US and in Europe. I loved following the trail from the antique store to Paris and all that Cady learned. It was so moving and well-written and I'm so glad I read it.

I could not read this book because I couldn't figure out how to enlarge the print to be able to read it. I really wish I could have because I am interested in this book and still want to read it

I wanted to like it more than I did. I just couldn't really get into it and didn't really care much for the characters.

Review While I enjoyed the book overall, there were parts a bit hard to reconcile. After her adopted Mother dies, photographer Cady Drake heads to Europe to do a coffee table book of the carousels in France. She was given a part of a carousel by her adopted mother and is trying to find the providence of the piece while photographing to old carousels. She meets a man that his Uncle inherited a house where a carousel by a renowned maker had been commissioned by his Grandfather to build the carousel for his wife in the early 1900’s. She heads to the old mansion in search of information but will the ornery old hermit help her? SPOILER ALERT I had a hard time coming to terms that Cady who barely had any education was fluent, except for the nuances of the language, in French. There were a few other things I think were stretching the imagination a bit far but overall I enjoyed the description of the small French Villages. I received a copy through Penguin First to Read for my honest opinion.

This was historical fiction at it's best. I loved that Cady's character was so well written. It made the story so believable and passionate. I loved that it dwelled on carousels and their origin while unearthing Clement's story. I would definitely read more from this author and will recommend this to other historical fiction fans. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read.

Even late I'm going to leave my review anyway. I enjoyed this book, even though I had figured out what was going to happen pretty early. I enjoyed all of the timelines, and personally felt a bit more in the past would not have been a bad thing. This will definitely make me pick up other books by the author.

Juliet Blackwell’s Lost Carousel of Provence travels through time to trace the creation and history of a carousel delivered to the Chateau Clement. It opens with the delivery of the carousel in 1905 and ends in the present after following members of the Clement family through the wars and the deterioration of the estate and family relations. Intertwined with this is the story of Cady Drake, raised in foster care and currently suffering from the loss of her friend and mentor. Cady’s prized possession is a carved rabbit that was part of a carousel. When the rabbit is damaged she finds a box with a photo dating to the creation of the carousel. When she receives a commission or photograph the carousels of Paris it gives her an opportunity to find the Chateau Clement and discover the fate of the carousel. She also finds a way into the Clement family and finally begin to heal. Blackwell’s story is beautifully written, but it was Cady and her story that kept me turning pages. This was a story that I would definitely recommend.

In 2016, I read a book called Letters from Paris. Before then, I was unfamiliar with books by Juliet Blackwell. I loved Letters from Paris and was ecstatic to see that Blackwell was writing another book with dual storylines, and that it was also set in France. And, oh man, The Lost Carousel of Provence was as good as I was hoping it would be. It was a compelling story about found family, loss, tragedy, love, and second chances spanning across more than a hundred years from past to present. Blackwell has a way with words. Right from the start, the writing was descriptive with the settings being rife with vividly described scenery. There were other little things too, details about everything from daily life to even the carousels the character, Cady, loved so much. Carousels were a big part of the story, and I liked the fact that the author included so much detailed information about them including how they were constructed—from concept to completion—with mention of work by Bayol and other notable carousels in France. While the present storyline was good, I also liked the historical aspects of The Lost Carousel of Provence. Blackwell did a good job of setting the tone for these parts with a mix of fiction and historical fact. A loose image of the time period before, during, and after World War 2 in France was presented with the focus on people from one family. The dual storylines featured more than two perspectives, particularly the ones that took place in 1900 and around the 1940s. That being said, there was never a moment where the characters got muddled. The narrators were unique, their stories varied, and I loved how it all eventually connected in the present without being too or immediately obvious how everything was related. And the build up to the reveals and the ending was one of my favorite things about the story. As I mentioned above, the characters were pretty unique. One of my favorites was Cady. She was a little rough around the edges and had few connections, but the ones she had were genuine. Her chapters were among my favorites. There was also little romance, but it was subtle, very slow burn. All in all, I enjoyed The Lost Carousel of Provence. And I guess it’s time to read that copy of The Paris Key that’s been sitting on my shelf since 2016.... Disclaimer: This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thank you!

I didn’t get to finish reading it because the download expired. It’s too bad it couldn’t last longer.

Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell. However I completely ran out of time and didn’t have a chance to read this book. I was really looking forward to reading this book but life just got in the way.

The lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell has three separate stories interwoven together, one set in 1900 which tells about the origin of the carousel at Chateau Clement, one set during World War 2 which tells about Fabrice Clement being a resistance fighter, and the last story is set during current times and tells about the main character, Cady, and her search for carousels in France to write a book. Most of the story takes place in the current time. I would have liked to have a little more information about the oldest timeline in 1900, and the character from that time, Maelle. I did enjoy this story and a brief history of carousels in France, and would recommend it to historical fiction readers. Thanks to First to Read for ARC of this book!

The Lost Carousel of Provence intertwines three stories from 1900, WWII and present day. These stories all revolve around a historic carousel. At the center of the story are American Cady Drake and the French Clement family who originally commissioned the carousel. The book has themes of family, what makes a family and what it's like to have no family. There is the mystery of the origin of Cady's carousel rabbit as well as mysteries and secrets that surround the Clement family. Then there is the mystery that is Cady. I really wanted to like this book. It has potential to be a great read but fell short for me. At times I found it just did not hold my attention. I'm not sure if it is because the storyline jumps around through three time frames or if it was lack of character development which was really lacking in the 1900's Clement family characters. The ending of this book was beyond disappointing. After all the discussion of Cady's parentage it remained completely unsolved. It felt like the book was leading up to some conclusion about who Cady is but never got there. The rest of the ending felt forced and rushed. Basically I feel cheated of a real ending to a story of characters I grew to know as a reader. Yes the question of Cady's rabbit is solved but the relationships were left hanging in a way that is just frustrating. I can't recommend this book as it stands now. I read a lot and it isn't very often I reach the end of a book prepared to go on to the next chapter and it isn't there. In my opinion this is an unfinished novel. My exact words when I turned the last page were "are you kidding? Where's the rest of the book?"

I don't know how I feel about this one. There were parts that I really enjoyed, but other parts that felt a little odd. I liked Cady's story and the way she kind of made this new life for herself in France, but there seemed to be a disjointedness between her and the other characters. Even her best friend Olivia seemed separated (and not just in a physical sense). I really enjoyed learning about the different carousels in France and I would love to take a look through Cady's book. I'm not sure what it was that is holding me back though. Maybe it's the human connection and we never really get to see her truly connect with Jean Paul. Even with Fabrice the relationship is a little stilted. Maybe it's the way the ending is a non-ending. I was hoping for more closure than I got. Either way, it's written absolutely beautifully and I love the premise.

“The Lost Carousel of Provence” by Juliet Blackwell was the first of her novels that I’ve read and I really enjoyed her style and her way of weaving a story. This story opens in Provence, France with the mistress of the Chateau Clement watching as the carousel is being built on the property in 1901. Little does Josephine know that her story will intrigue a modern-day woman from America named Cady. Cady and Josephine are connected by the carousel and the love of the work of Gustave Bayol, a French sculptor whose famous for his carousels. While Cady is in France photographing carousels for a coffee table book, she stumbles upon the family members of the original chateau owner and she is able to connect the mystery of her own carousel piece, Gus the rabbit, to the Clement carousel and to the Clement family mystery of Josephine’s death. “The Lost Carousel of Provence” is a love story and a puzzle all at once.

I really enjoyed this story. It's intriguing and kept me interested the whole time. The premise was unique as it traced a carousel from its creation during World War II to present day. I will definitely be recommending this novel!

Thank you to First to Read for my ARC of this book. The Lost Carousel of Provence is a sweet, summertime read about a woman who's never really had a family and travels to France for a break from her every day. Half of the book takes place in 1900 and follows a woman from a small French village trying to make her break as an apprentice carver and another storyline follows a young man during WWII as he works as in Paris as part of the Resistance. I found the characters from the historical timelines to be much more likeable and their storylines were far more interesting and engaging. Cady, the main character in the present timeline, can be a little "too much" at times--in fact, characters in the book call her out for this character flaw as well! I also found some of the writing a bit odd and off-putting -- the story takes place in France, so some of the characters speak in French. To illustrate this, the author would write some dialogue in French and then have Cady explain to us (the readers) what the person just said. I found this really annoying whenever it was employed and it began to grate on my nerves for some reason. Other than that, the historical stories are lovely and engrossing to follow. A quick summer read.

Great book! I have read most of the author's other books and loved them - this one was no different!

Who doesn’t love a carousel? The carousel in this novel connects several story lines throughout history, from its creation to WWII to the present day. The characters were interesting, and I did not mind the bouncing between characters since each story line held my interest. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Provence.

This was my favorite of the summer’s novels! The discovery of the long ago carousel, the mix of characters, the resolution, all are intriguing and believable, Cady especially.

I’ve read so many of this author’s witchcraft books, and enjoyed them, that I was eager to read this one. For some reason, I couldn’t get into it. I’m sure the fault is entirely mine. I’m just not the right reader at this time.

This was a very sweet story about a young woman who was at a crossroads in her life and was given the opportunity to go to France to research carousels that were produced in Provence. I loved traveling the streets of Paris with Cady and also reading more about the much more leisurely life in Provence. At first, the story is told in two timelines and eventually that become three timelines. It is to the author's credit that each of the timelines was interesting and the reader does not get confused. I thought that the book was just a bit too long and a little repetitive about Cady's background but this was still an enjoyable book.

You know the saying "never judge a book back it's cover." Well I basically picked this book by the cover, briefly read the first sentence of the description and used my "First To Read" points to guarantee my copy. That was an excellent day on my part - This book is as lovely as the cover - A story that I enjoyed tremendously. Truthfully I'm not sure why I selected the book, but so happy I did.

I loved the history and the split time periods. I learned about the early carousels, everything from the hand carving of each animal, the many steps of painting and finishing, and how they were powered by steam. Cast helped solve several mysteries, all related to the carousel owner. It was an excellent read.

Cute book! Easy read. The characters were all a little off to me but the plot overall was fun. Cady sets off to France to take pictures of carousels and to solve a mystery. I loved getting to know all the different characters and see so many points of view.

Historical Fiction is always my favorite read but what makes The Lost Carousel of Provence exceptional is the split time periods, character relationships and mystery. The word flow, constant thrills, and face paced storyline make this an exceptional read. Juliet Blackwell takes you back to childhood remembering the magic of riding a Carousel, the excitement of choosing your animal and the delightful music. My thanks to the author and First to Read for making this book available for me to read and review. I look forward to reading all titles by Juliet Blackwell.

I love reading historical fiction and I love books that are set in France so this book was a perfect read for me. I have seen several of the carousels in Paris that the author mentions but I guess it's time for another trip to Paris to see the rest (don't I wish!) This is a dual time line story. The early story takes place in Avignon in the early 1900s where a carousel is being built at a chateau for a wealthy French couple. In the group who is assembling the carousel is a female apprentice who longs to be a carver but makes a mistake that could ruin her plans and her life. In the modern day story, Cady is an orphan from San Francisco who is at odds with her life until she gets a commission to take photos of the carousels in Paris for a book. She owns a piece of an old carousel and wants to find out more about it which takes her to the chateau where the carousel was located in the early 1900s. Fire and world wars have taken their toll on the original carousel but Cady is determined to find out more about it. I enjoyed this novel and both of the stories that were intertwined throughout and loved the way that they author tied them together at the end. If you enjoy historical fiction, you don't want to miss this book. Thanks to First to Read r for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

What a great read! I enjoyed the book from beginning to end and couldn't put it down! My heart heart for Cady's childhood and I felt like I was with her on her trip to overseas. I highly recommend this book!

A winner for sure! The book tells the tell of Cady Drake, a photographer who travels to Paris and then into the French countryside in search of the story behind a carousel rabbit that she has. As her search leads her to a destroyed carousel in Provence, she comes to stay with the elderly owner of the Chateau Clement and begins to unravel a mystery that spans three generations. Wonderful read.

A Thumping Good Read! I truly loved reading this book. The author's attention to detail and encyclopedic knowledge of the history of carousels and indeed her knowledge of photography delivers a treasure of a book. The novel slides smoothly between time periods welcoming the reader deeply into the story allowing the reader to understand and feel connected to the characters and their stories. I highly recommend THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PROVENCE to readers of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. You will not be disappointed! I shall be looking for more by this author.

I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn about how the carousel were made and how they were popular in each town. I enjoyed the back and forth between past and present format . At first it was confusing but I found the rhythm quickly. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to more by this author .

I have enjoyed this author’s Witchcraft series but this the first book of hers that I have read outside that series. Very different and very enjoyable. I liked the setting, mainly in France, the characters, the mystery and even learning about the making of the carousel animals. I also enjoyed that it was set partly in the present and partly in the past. No complaints, all good.


More to Explore

  • Secondhand Spirits
  • A Cast-Off Coven
  • If Walls Could Talk
  • Hexes and Hemlines

Copy the following link