I’ve read several books by Bette Lee Crosby and enjoyed them very much. Beyond the Carousel, published January 2017, was no exception.
When Emory Hawthorne came into money bequeathed to him from his long absent father, he moved his family from their cold water flat into a dream house. For all her inherent frugality, Emory’s wife, Rose, and eleven year old Laura, loved the house. As the years passed and Emory’s salary increased, Rose learned to adapt and became more accustomed to being able to buy what she wanted. Laura secured a secretarial job at the bank working for the vice president. And it was there she met Franklin Wilkes.
Laura and Franklin are very happy, together with their daughter, Christine. Until the Wall Street crash turned happiness into tragedy and the family’s lives upside down. Twenty five years have passed and Christine has fallen in love with rookie policeman, Jack Mahoney. The tragedy from years ago is never far from Emory and Christine’s thoughts and maybe Jack would be the one to resolve the past.
In the weeks that followed, Christine and Jack dated often. On days when she worked split shift, they met for lunch or coffee or a leisurely walk home.
“You shouldn’t be walking alone in the dark,” Jack said, and even though they had no plans to meet she’d find him sitting on the bench across the street each evening when she started for home……..
Before the leaves of the oak trees began to turn, Christine knew this was indeed the magic her mama had wished for her.
Continuing the Wyattsville saga with this prequel which introduces the young Jack Mahoney, who we first meet as a middle-aged and kindly detective in Spare Change. The story begins with a wonderful opening paragraph…’They say that every man has a story to tell, and I believe this to be true. My story is one of a terrible happening, something that will send you scurrying to give your children one last kiss before you sleep. It is a tale of murder and heartbreak. Only now, after it has come full circle, can I find the strength to give it voice.’….and transports us back to the 1920s when a full bedroom set cost just $249 – about £200. Spanning three generations, the narrative gives a clear picture of life and changing events in the first half of the 20th century, including the terrible fallout and tragedies following the stock market crash.
Written in the third person, with occasional chapters from specific individuals. I like this approach, it gives an extra insight into the already well defined characters and rounds them out that bit more. The book can be read as a standalone but if you’re familiar with the Wyattsville series it is a must.
As always, Bette Lee Crosby writes with warmth and feeling, making the characters come alive and tug at the heart, while incorporating a good balance of love, loss, drama and happiness. The research is apparent, including references to the popular culture of the era and life during the depression.
About The Book
Laura Wilkes has everything a woman could want when she snaps the picture of her five-year-old daughter on the carousel. Each time the carousel comes around Laura snaps another picture, seven in all. This is a day of unforgettable happiness; one of the few Laura has left.
In the months following the stock market crash the family is beset by tragedy. A homicide that goes unpunished. It’s the height of the depression and there are hoards of faceless, nameless men living in train yards and back alleys. The murderer is never caught but the family never gives up hope of finding him.
Now twenty-five years later, Laura’s daughter has fallen in love with a policeman. Jack Mahoney is a rookie with little or no power, but he’s the one, the only one, who can deliver the justice the family has long awaited.
In a heartwarming family saga that stretches across three generations, and brings back Wyattsville’s favorite detective, readers will get to know Jack Mahoney as a young man about to fall in love.