People talk a lot about the different stages of grief and how you have to go through one after another until you finally come out on the other side of it, ready to face the world again. But what happens when life stalls at one of those stages?
Carousel Beach (Forge Books) by Orly Konig takes readers deep beneath the surface of that question, navigating through the murky layers of fear and guilt and, ultimately, to the hope that lies at the heart of this touching novel.
The story centers on Maya Brice, a restoration artist, and the beloved carousel she is painstakingly bringing back to life one animal at a time. A year after losing her grandmother and her unborn child, Maya is still shrouded in a fog of grief. Just the thought of moving forward without them has her running for the sanctuary of her art studio rather than face the realities of a life that refuses to stand still around her. Conversations with her husband have been reduced to what can fit on a sticky note. Her not-looking-to-settle-down best friend has fallen in love without Maya even noticing. And the contentious relationship with her mother has deteriorated almost to the point of no return. Yet, Maya still can’t bring herself to face any of it.
But reality can only be ignored for so long before it forces its way back in. For Maya, it comes in the form of two letters, neither one meant for her. The first is a love letter to her grandmother from the carousel’s original artist that unlocks a door to her family’s past. The second, a job offer for her husband on the other side of the country that throws their future into question.
It’s in how Maya reacts to these two world-rocking secrets that Konig’s storytelling shines brightest. She deftly balances Maya’s emotional turmoil with moments of lightness, humor, and warmth, lending insight into how the ebb and flow of grief can suck the sand out from under your feet one moment and offer support the next. It’s impossible not to get swept up in Maya’s journey as she struggles to regain her footing.
With each layer of paint Maya works through on the final horse in the carousel’s menagerie, she uncovers truths about her own strength and resilience that just might allow her to finally move on.
Both honest and heart-wrenching, Carousel Beach delves into the debilitating—and fluctuating—nature of grief. Supported by relatable characters that are all the more loveable because of their flaws; a charming beach town setting; and the magic of the carousel at the center of it all, this is a book you won’t want to put down.
Carousel Beach will be released on May 8th. For more information on the author, visit her website at www.orlykonig.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After years of pushing the creativity boundary in corporate communications, Orly Konig decided it was time for a new challenge and made the switch to fiction. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats. She’s a co-founder and past president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, and a quarterly contributor to the Writers in the Storm and Thinking Through Our Fingers blogs. The Distance Home is her first novel. Her second, Carousel Beach, releases May 8.