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Review: The Carny by Brooke Moss

The Carny by Brooke Moss
Contemporary Romance, Interracial Romance, Social Issues
Print $15.99 (### pages, INKSPELL)
Ebook $5.99

At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored.
  Ten years later, Charlotte is still living in the small fishing town of Astoria, while being trained to--reluctantly--take over for her philandering hotelier father when he retires. After all, who else will do it? Her two perfect sisters are busy being married to their flawless husbands and having cookie cutter children, while Charlotte remains single, childless, and every bit as mousy as she was a decade ago.
  As Charlotte struggles to climb out from underneath her judgmental parents thumb, the carnival rolls back into town, and Charlotte finds herself face to face with Vin again. He's back to run his father's carnival, walking away from a promising career in medicine he started in Chicago. Will her biased and judgmental family accept her relationship with a man who is not only a Native American, but works as a carny for a living? And what unsavory secrets bind the well-educated and seemingly superlative Vin to that ramshackle carnival? After all, you can’t judge a carny by its cover.

Author Site: brookemoss.com

The Carny Book Trailer

A Love Story with Humor and Heart (5 stars)

In Charlotte Davenport's family appearances have always come first. Stuck between what her family expects of her and the pressures of being a teenager, Charlotte finds herself caught in a lie that leads to a kiss that will haunt her for a decade. After locking lips with shaggy haired, Native American Vincent Youngblood at the carnival he's working at she finds herself drawn to every one to pass through Northwestern Oregon. After being dumped at the alter she finds herself living at home with her parents again and bearing the burden of the family hotel business.

But when a chance meeting brings Vin back into her life the judgementalness of the people in her life complicates the budding relationship. Like Charlotte he's taking care of the family business while putting his own dreams on hold. He could be a doctor, but in Astoria all people see is a Native American carny. Though there's more to Vin than her snobbish family sees on the surface, will his own secrets quash the bond between them? Can love overcome the pressures of family duty, racism, classism, and misunderstanding?

There is so much to THE CARNY I have to admit it's difficult knowing where to start. While it falls into the romance genre it's very much a love story pitted with social issues. This goes beyond the Romeo-and-Juliet-esque tropes often associated with interracial romances and boils it down to a very honest view of classism and racism. I wouldn't quite call it a book with a message but if readers are looking for one it's there. One of my closest friends is Native American and we've had many discussions on stereotyping and political correctness, the downfall of Native American culture and the many humanitarian wrongs that have been committed against them. I applaud Moss for not detracting from the romance between Charlotte and Vin while still giving readers a reminder that racism still exists in the world.

One of the strongest talents Moss brings to the table as a writer is her ability to pepper her stories with a humor that's very organic and utterly endearing. While many readers of the romance genre might wince at the first-person narrative it serves this particular story so well I can't imagine it written any other way. Vin is a truly fresh hero, one I was incapable of disliking even at his moments of showing his own flaws. Charlotte in contrast was both relatable and a little frustrating, there was something a bit naive, almost adolescent about her at the beginning that made me want to shake some sense into her. As with Moss' debut novel, THE CARNY, is balanced with an intricate and essential collection of secondary characters.

I would be remiss as a reviewer and native of the Pacific Northwest if I neglected to mention what I love most about Moss' novels—her settings! Somehow, she manages to take real places and let them develop into irreplacable backdrops for her stories. As I read THE CARNY I was easily transported back to my childhood trips along the Oregon coast with my father. Readers who fall in love with places they read about in fiction from Hogwarts to Forks to Bon Temps will find a special place for Astoria.

If you're in the mood for a beach read with humor and heart please don't hesitate to put THE CARNY on your list! I highly recommend it for readers who've ever had to face obstacles of social differences for love.

Other Reviews:
The Selkie Reads Stories
Seeing Night Reviews

Notes: ARC received via publisher.

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