This captivating novel has all the ingredients for the perfect beach read or a lively book club discussion, leaving readers with a tear in their eye and a smile in their heart. With tender (sometimes raw) emotion, Konig explores the relationships between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, grandmothers and granddaughters, first loves and forever loves. She does so with a beautifully parallel plot involving the restoration of a town fixture and the recovery of an old man’s memories. (Fair warning: You will want to reach inside this book and hug Hank Hauser, probably more than once.) As Maya painstakingly gives new life to the beloved carousel, her own deeply-layered grief is cataloged and marked for repair as well. In many ways, the last carousel horse she needs to restore mirrors the state of her life — a few chips taken out here and there but mostly in need of a fresh outlook. But it’s the way the horse connects Maya to her late grandmother and their shared love of the carousel (and some surprising secrets uncovered by the restoration) that really will have readers wholly invested in the outcome.
Maya Brice is recovering from a crushing year; the same-day loss of her beloved grandmother and her own baby is still a black cloud of grief that hangs heavy over her heart. It’s also a devastation that is threatening to claim her marriage, too. Instead of dealing with the pain or her husband, Maya throws herself into her work — intent on finishing the carousel restoration that her grandmother Meera so wanted to see. When she discovers a secret inscription to Meera on their favorite horse — the remaining piece to be restored — Maya stumbles on a love story that her grandmother took to the grave. When she finds the carousel’s original creator, Hank Houser, she quickly realizes she may never learn the truth. Coaxing memories from Hank’s Alzheimer’s-clouded mind proves daunting, but the key to Maya’s own restoration may lie in the secrets he’s been keeping. (FORGE, May, 320 pp., $17.99)