Publication year: 2010
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible
Narrator: Elizabeth Rogers
Running Time: 11 hours and 59 minutes.

Kate Archer is returning to her earlier home at Archers Beach, Maine. Her formidable grandmother Bonnie wasn’t answering her phone and Kate has been notified that the family’s carousel business called Fun Country is being threatened with a foreclosure. So, Kate is returning so find out what has happened. Archers Beach is one of the border lands between the supernatural world, the Land of the Flowers, and the real world. Kate has a traumatic past in the Land of the Flowers and she wasn’t in good terms with Bonnie when she left, so the return isn’t easy.

Soon after she returns she meets the local drug smuggler Joe Nemeier who sends his minions to teach Kate a hard lesson. Older enemies are looking for Kate, too. Luckily, she makes a few friends.

Carousel Tides feels like old fashioned fantasy where the modern world and the supernatural mix uncomfortably, in contrast to the more matter-of-fact urban fantasy where vampires and fairies feel like nothing special. The magic is rather spectacular, though. My favorite part were the magical beings which are bound to the various carousel animals. They can talk and even attack sometimes but have to behave when the tourists come to ride them. There are old fairie creatures in the story, such as selkies and Black Dogs.

The story is set into a small town in the US with all the advantages and disadvantages that come along with it. People know each other and they know each other’s business. They can be kind or hold a grudge for decades. These secondary characters where great and well done.

Kate is a troubled character with a dark past which is constantly on her mind. The book is told in the first person so we get all of her thoughts and feelings. Both of her parents are dead and her grandmother is all the family she has left. Even though Bonnie and Kate apparently departed in anger, Kate loves Bonnie and does her best to find out what happened to her. Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with her.

There’s a little bit of romance, too, but it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story.

Rogers is a good narrator. She reads with an accent which I suspect is American Southern. It doesn’t make the story hard to understand but instead adds a bit of character to it.

The author has a website where you can read the first nine chapters, and it also has a cast of characters and notes about the geography: