The Merry-Go-Round (Unabridged)
by Donna Fasano
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When Lauren divorces her husband, she has one thought on her mind...stepping off the merry-go-round. However, her life quickly turns into a three-ring circus: her hypochondriac father moves in, her ex is using her shower when she's not home, and her perky assistant is pushing her out into the fearsome dating world. She also has to decide if the dilapidated barn and vintage merry-go-round she was awarded in the divorce settlement is a blessing or a bane. As if Lauren's personal life isn't chaotic enough, this slightly jaded attorney is overrun with a cast of quirky characters who can't stay on the right side of the law. What's a woman to do? She can allow life to spin her in circles forever. Or she can reach out and grab the brass ring.
A great 6 hour escape from a dreary day
This was a sweet, engaging and at times, laugh out loud funny tale told through Lauren’s point of view, with the occasional interjection of sense and nonsense from the other characters. A plausible romance, with a love relationship not torn asunder by fear of vampires or pack responsibilities: no, these were real people, with honest issues that many will find applicable to their own lives. There’s nothing wrong at all with escape romance, but the profusion of supernatural and paranormal romance novels often lead readers (and authors) to forget that real people are sometimes as, if not more fascinating than their paranormally infused counterparts.
Written with attention to pacing and characters, the story unfolds to present a series of surprises for Lauren. When the judge awards her a barn that her ex-husband had not mentioned in the assets statement for the divorce proceedings, Lauren finds an old merry go round, still glorious despite the grime and neglect. The carousel is a perfect metaphor for the story, neglected beauty and joy, travelling only in circles and tarnished brass detracting from its glory. Lauren spends much of the book doing just that, relying on her anger, hurt feelings and incorrect assumptions to keep her travelling in one single circle, never looking up or out. As the layers of grime are removed, and the renovation of the merry go round begins, Lauren begins to lose her crust of anger and hurt, and starts to look at her own behaviour as potential cause of her unhappiness.
The narration by Margie Lenhart was a perfect accompaniment to the story: modulating her tone and pacing slightly to indicate the different characters, without overreaching and making it feel forced or overworked, her words brought characters well defined by the author into brilliant bas relief, and the book was a joy to listen to.
For me, there is no requirement that every romance have a happily ever after, but this one does, in a sweetly described scene that left a smile on my face. While the book contains adult themes, and even references to sex, there was no swearing or overt sexual descriptions, this was a sweet read with allusion and reader imagination working to fill in the blanks.
You won’t go wrong with this story for a quiet afternoon listen or read, and you may just find it was your best decision all week.
I received an AudioBook version of the book from the author in exchange for honest review as part of The Heard Word promotion at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions were my own responsibility.