In the Oakland, California, of 1989, Mirai San Julian is a young woman with a fascinating life and a rich past. She restores historic carousels -- her dream career -- working from her own studio in a former roller skating rink. Though black herself, she spent her first years in a Basque immigrant community in Nevada, the adopted child of a single mother. And after the mother's death, she was raised by her Aunt Joy in a Catholic Worker house.
Mirai has a lot going for her -- but then, why is everything suddenly falling apart? Her current, year-long carousel project is veering crazily out of control, in both schedule and budget. The guy who dumped her only months before has shown up married and -- as far as Mirai is concerned -- to the worst possible person. Her mother's death long ago is looking less and less like an accident. And Joy, the one person who has had her complete trust, may know more about that death than she has let Mirai believe.
Mirai knows how to restore a carousel, but can she restore relationships with those she loves? Can she strip the old paint of past wrongs to prepare her life for new, more vibrant colors? And will her eyes be clear enough to spot the brass ring when it finally comes within reach?
Anne L. Watson, a retired historic preservation architecture consultant, is the author of several novels, plus books on such diverse subjects as soapmaking and baking with cookie molds. She currently lives in Friday Harbor, Washington, in the San Juan Islands, with her husband and fellow author, Aaron Shepard, and their cat, Skeeter.