In the novel The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller, Carrington Brouwer has just traveled from France to Ohio. Her artist father has died and Carrington needs to find a means to support herself. She had befriended a young American women visiting France named Augusta, who had invited her to Ohio. But now Augusta’s mother, preoccupied with climbing the social ladder, is clearly not pleased. When Carrington learns that Augusta’s kindly father owns a carousel factory and needs an artist to paint the horses, Carrington assures him she could perform the job.
He hires her, but it’s uncommon for a woman to work in a factory full of men in 1890. Some protest and complain; some of the wives accost Carrie in public to try to scold her into quitting. Some men go so far as to quit or sabotage her work. Her supervisor, Josef, is not happy to have her there, but he can only abide by the boss’s wishes. The fact that Carrie is a friend of the boss’s daughter, and Carrie goes to their house every weekend, doesn’t sit well with the men, either.
Eventually Carrie’s talent speaks for itself. But a new enemy arises in the form of Augusta’s suitor, who has eyes for Carrie. Then some of Augusta’s mother’s jewelry is stolen, and Carrie is blamed.
Carrie’s mother had taken her to church, but her father “said God was for weak people who needed a crutch to get through life. Mama didn’t agree. She said believers were the strong ones because they had faith in something beyond what they could see and feel. I tended to agree with Mama. At least until she died.” Part of Carrie’s journey is realizing she has issues with besetting sins like pride.
I enjoyed the story and they way some of the relationships developed over the course of the book. Josef ended up being my favorite character. I also liked learning the background of how carousels were manufactured and painted. I guess they are probably made of molded and dyed plastic now. The old ones were individual works of art. I loved the cover.
Somehow I ended up with both a paperback and Kindle copy of this book. I read the Kindle version, so I’d like to give away the paperback. If you’d like to be entered in the drawing for the book, just leave a comment on this post. (I’ll take all comments here as entries unless you let me know you’re not interested in receiving the book). I’m afraid I can only ship to US addresses due to shipping costs. A week from today, Wednesday, Dec. 18, I’ll draw a name from the entries to determine the winner.
(Update: The giveaway is closed and the winner is Vickie. Congratulations!)