When choosing the books to take to Hvar with me – having made the mistake of taking Wuthering Heights and The Counte of Monte Cristo to Dubronik earlier in the year – I deliberately chose easy reads. Thus, as well as taking Precious Thing by Colette McBeth, I also packed The Carousel by Rosamund Pitcher and Miss Garnet’s Angel by Sally Vickers.
I first discovered Rosamund Pilcher when reading The Shell Seekers, an entry on the BBC’s Top 100 Reads – beloved by both my mum and my granny, it’s one of my favourite books and I’ve since read September which I equally enjoyed. I came across The Carosel at the Chiswick branch of ‘Books for Free’. Run by environmental charity Healthy Planet, Books for Free rescues unwanted books otherwise destined for landfill or pulping and redistributes these books – for free – throughout communities via their 32 volunteer run Books for Free centres on high streets nationwide.
The Carousel, much like The Shell Seekers and September, is based largely in Cornwall and follows Prue, who is being pressurized by her mother Delia to marry a man that her mother thinks would be good for her, as she classes him as “safe”. Prue, however, has other ideas; independent, intelligent and artistic she refuses to be pushed into anything by anyone, least of all her mother.
So when her eccentric and bohemian aunt in Cornwall asks Prue to stay, she jumps at the chance to escape both London and her mother. And whilse exploring the beautiful Cornish coast on a lovely stretch of beach Prue comes across a young artist called Daniel, and from then on her life begins to change in ways she never dreamed of.
The perfect summer’s day book, The Carousel possesses both charm and delight in equal abundance. For me, the story had a particular poignancy as quite coincidentally my mother is called Prue and my granny was Cordelia, so that they share the names of the central characters made it an extra special read.