Lights, music, motion, animals - what is there not to love about a merry-go-round? As a child, I remember being enamored by carousels, and as an adult, I still see a bit of magic in them. I'm never surprised when the local carnivals come to town; and even with the Ferris wheels, fun houses, bumper cars and kiddie roller coasters, the longest lines always seem to form in front of the carousel. It is this wondrous appeal of a carnival contraption that lies at the center and forms the heart of a great new debut book I had the privilege to read and review this year.
The Carousel by Stefani Deoul tells the story of a woman on the road who wearily stumbles into a small town and is captivated by a group of carousel horses at the local scrap yard. The horses seem to call out to the broken stranger; and she soon finds herself embarking on a project to restore the animals and gift the town with a brand new carousel, as well as a community project. The mysterious woman, who becomes known simply as the merry-go-round lady or the boss, acts as a catalyst to bring the town together and she finds herself pulled into friendship with several of the local residents, despite her secret past.
Overall, this was a really interesting story. I loved Deoul's descriptions of the horses that the townspeople carved and restored - each one unique and individual. However, I wish more of the protagonist's mysterious past had been revealed bit-by-bit throughout the book, rather than all at once at the end of the story. Without even learning her name, I never truly connected with her as a character, but I did like that she was the one who brought the other characters together. The supporting cast in the story was very extensive and they felt like a real community. The magic of the carousel brought new life to the town, and as a whole, The Carousel is a great story about restoration in both art and life.
Were you fascinated by merry-go-rounds as a child? Was there another aspect of carnivals or fairs that captivated you?
And stay tuned this week for my interview with author Stefani Deoul!