Family secrets are like a poison. The secret itself may stay hidden, but the emotional consequences of the secret can leach out and have an effect on the family for generations.
The new novel, The Lost Carousel of Provence, by Juliet Blackwell, is set in three distinct time periods and told from the point of view of three different characters. Cady was raised by the system in California. The only parental figure in her life is her newly deceased foster-mother. With nothing to lose and nothing to keep her in California, Cady travels to France to take pictures of carousels on a freelance assignment. In 1940’s France, Fabrice is a young man who is fighting for his country by joining the resistance. He knows that it is dangerous and he knows there will be consequences for both him and his family if he is caught, but he feels that it is the right thing to do. In the early 20th century, Maelle is young woman who wants to do more than marry, keep a house and raise children. She wants to be an artist. She gets that opportunity, but that comes with life changing experiences.
All three characters, in their own individual lifetimes, are brought together by the Château Clement, an upper class estate in Provence and its legendary carousel. Each plays a part in either hiding or revealing the secret of the Chateau and the family who calls it home.
I really loved this book. I loved it because it was well written, it was exciting and I wanted to reach the end of the book to figure out the mystery. I also loved it because of the bold choice of the narrative structure. It takes a skilled writer to jump between time periods and the narratives of individual characters while maintaining an articulate story arc. While many writers are unable to do this because of the delicate balancing act required while writing a novel with this specific type of narrative structure, Ms. Blackwell is able to do in a way that I find enviable.
I recommend it.