The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell
Cady did not know love for most of her childhood, but when Maxine took her into her heart, and her antiques store, Cady found the home she'd been looking for. From Maxine she learned how to care for and restore antiques, and she grew to love the rabbit carousel figure that Maxine gifted her. After Maxine's death, however, Cady damages the rabbit accidentally and find that he has been hiding a secret in his belly all along. The picture and note inside send Cady on a journey to France to photograph carousels and learn more about Bayol, the most famous carousel maker of all time.
In Paris, Cady meets Jean Paul who takes her to a small village to a run down chateau to learn about his family's carousel, of which only pieces remain after a terrible fire ruined it years ago. It was one of the only privately commissioned carousels Bayol ever created, and carried a special designation as being the only carousel that Bayol had a female assistant work on. Cady strikes up an unlikely friendship with Jean Paul's cantankerous uncle, and in time she learns the story of the family, the war that nearly ruined them, and the role the carousel played in it all.
Rick with history, romance, and healing, this is a true gem of a book. I adored the story from start to finish. I've always loved carousels (who doesn't?) and loved learning their history and more about the process of how they were made. The examination of a woman trying to succeed in what had previously been a man's profession was enlightening as well. You can't help but love Cady and the cantankerous uncle, and the happy ending swells your heart with joy. I'd definitely recommend this one!