I received The Carousel Painter from the LibraryThing Early Reviews program; I requested it because I enjoy reading historical fiction and, as an artist, thought the short summary about a female artist sounded interesting. After finishing the book, I can say that I found it enjoyable and the story made for some cute, light reading. It's a well written book and the storyline was engaging; I really enjoyed reading about the carousel creating process, especially. I thought most of the characters were interesting and believably written, and the developing relationship the main character had was sweet. The mystery of the missing jewelry introduced about halfway into the book was a bit cheesy (I mean, I figured out what was going on long before the main character did), but it wasn't bad; I enjoy a bit of mystery in stories.
The two main problems I had with the book were the personality of the main character and the Christian aspects that kept popping up in the story. For the first one, I found Carrington, the main character, to be rather annoying with her constant giggling in stressful situations; since most of the book was a stressful situation for her, that quickly got old. That wouldn't be so bad, though, if not for the fact that she was also extremely clumsy and rather obsessed with not being prideful. One or two of those things would have made for a believably flawed character, but combined they just didn't endear her to me. The other problem I had with the book was the Christian theme; I think the book would have been better if that had been omitted or at least hadn't popped up as frequently. I really don't feel that it did anything to advance the plot; if anything it made Carrington more aware of her pride, which is one of the things I disliked about her character. I'm not a fan of overly-Christian stories anyway, so I found myself skipping over those passages. Fortunately there weren't too many of them, so it didn't bother me too much.
Overall, I found this book to be a fun read and would recommend it to people looking for a cute mystery and romance. It's not the best book I've ever read, but it is one I liked. I'd give this book 3 stars out of 5; it would have gotten more from me had those aforementioned two problems been changed.
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