The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller
4 1/2 stars
In the book’s opening, we’re transported to Colinsford, Ohio in 1890. There we follow the main character of Carrington (also known as Carrie) Brouwer. She has come to America to find a place to live and a job. Her father has just recently died in France, and she has no living relatives to assist her. So she reaches out to her wealthy friend, Augusta – who was one of her father’s students.
Carrie arrives in America with an uncertain future and a crate full of paintings from her father. She tries to get comfortable with living at Augusta’s home, but it proves to be uncomfortable and difficult. She’s sure that the mother is not happy with her stay, and she feels the pressure to move out. What Carrie desires most of all, is to find a job and a place to call hers – no matter how small.
Her big chance comes when Augusta’s father mentions that his carousel factory needs a painter. Carrie sees the opportunity and jumps on it. She mentions that she’s a painter and that she’s sure she’ll be right for the position. Everyone is skeptical about Carrie taking it except for Augusta’s mother – who is eager to get Carrie out of her home.
She takes the job and meets opposition. After all, she’s a woman. What is she doing in a factory with only men? Carrie fights to keep her dream alive of being an artist and keeps pressing on. Is being a carousel painter all that she desires or will something else stir her heart?
My Thoughts on The Carousel Painter:
This is told in first-person from the viewpoint of Carrington Brouwer. I admittedly have not read many books written from this angle. What I have read is Rain Song and How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler. Unlike these, this is not set in a modern time frame. It takes place in 1890.
The characters are all interesting and well-developed. I enjoyed seeing each and every one of them through the eyes of Carrie. I especially liked the love interest in this – he’s not the same sort of guy you always read about. He’s shorter and has a slight German accent (he says “ja” quite a bit).
I swept through the pages easily. It’s a light read – judged not by how long or short it is, but by how smoothly it flows. The Carousel Painter is a fun book to add to your fiction collection. It would make for a great gift (Christmas is coming *hint). I really look forward to reading more of Judith Miller’s works. Keep up the great writing, Judith!
Visit Judith Miller’s site: judithmccoymiller.com