Book Reviews and Comments

The Last Merry Go Round

BOOK REVIEW BY JULIE MAGOSTE: The Last Merry Go Round by Author C.L. Charlesworth

March 2021 interview with Porto station - Engenharia Radio - CL Charlesworth
Books on Air interview by Suzanne Harris of WebTalkRadio. Interviewing author C.L. Charlesworth about her latest book, The Last Merry Go Round

5.0 Stars on Goodreads

By Trina Pion on February 24, 2020
Diane Fletcher married into the rich and powerful Fletcher family right out of high school. She raised three daughters with an abusive husband. Now they are grown with their own lives but Diane’s hell continues because she continues to take unspeakable abuse. This Denver family is full of secrets and it is time for Diane to peel back each one. The reader is left wanting to know what horrors await Diane and whether she will overcome or be destroyed by them. I highly recommend this poignant page turner.

5.0 Stars on Amazon

Very intense
By Ericjonhhagen on February 21, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is very intense. I know that in some families and extended families that there are dynamics like this. i grew up in a very balanced family, however I married into a dysfunctional extended and blended family. It is very tragic to see what goes on in this dysfunction and how it alienates people especially the children. This book draws you in and keeps you interested and on edge waiting to find out what happens next. It is a good read!

5.0 Stars on Amazon

Excellent novel!
By Stephanie Kopetzky, author of Angels in My Attic, on February 16, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
C. L. Charlesworth pens a dramatic, soul-rending tale of the horrific and delicate dynamics of abusive families. The empathy the reader feels for protagonist Diane Fletcher leaves the heart broken and the mind racing to find out what will happen to her next. The plot is suspenseful and gripping, sure to hold readers from the first word to the last. I highly recommend this excellently portrayed, page-turning novel.

4.0 Stars on Amazon

A page-turner that I couldn’t put down
By L T on February 16, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
28 years of marriage, with so much secrets, dark secrets. I couldn’t stop turning the pages until I finished the entire book in one sitting. There were a couple of minor formatting issues but I found the story line captivating, even though it is very dark and sad.

5.0 Stars on Amazon

A real page turner book!
By Diego Gimar on February 15, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
Gosh I’ve never been so absorbed by a novel in my experience as a reader before – Charlesworth is a real talented noveltist, it’s impossible not being immersed in the story, chapeau!
I don’t want to spoiler nothing but this story is a really good examination of relationships between women, I loved all the concepts about the self-wothliness/ own’s feelings.

4.0 Stars on Goodreads

By M.C.V. Egan on February 13, 2020
In, “The Last Merry Go Round” the writing is very good, I dare say FABULOUS. C.L. Charlesworth has a beautiful way of weaving words whilst tackling a heavy subject. I love the irony of the “Merry” in the title and also using Merry-Go-Round as life has a way of inserting the vicious circles until we have the courage to get off.
Toxic relationships that can n away be as addictive as alcohol and sedatives. The story-line is very clever, and the book is well written, but divided in a way that makes the reading a little awkward. It is HOWEVER so clever and well written, albeit dark and sad subject matter, that I recommend the read.

4.0 Stars on Amazon

Beautiful Writing, Tackles Dark Subjects in a Fabulously Creative Way.
By Maria Catalina Egan on February 12, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
In, “The Last Merry Go Round” the writing is very good, I dare say FABULOUS. C.L. Charlesworth has a beautiful way of weaving words whilst tackling a heavy subject. I love the irony of the “Merry” in the title and also using Merry-Go-Round as life has a way of inserting the vicious circles until we have the courage to get off. Toxic relationships that can n away be as addictive as alcohol and sedatives. The story-line is very clever, and the book is well written, but divided in a way that makes the reading a little awkward. It is HOWEVER so clever and well written, albeit dark and sad subject matter, that I recommend the read.

5.0 Stars on Amazon

Great book!
By Ryan T on February 10, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
This was a good read. It delves into the secrets of a marriage and what happens when those secrets come to light.

5.0 Stars on Amazon

Well Written
By Sharain on February 6, 2010
Format:  Kindle Edition
Highly recommend

4.0 Stars on Amazon

Brutal Awakenings
By DLP on February 1, 2020
Format: Paperback
C.L. Charlesworth’s second novel, “The Last Merry Go Round” is anything but “Merry.” As Charlesworth’s own self-created cover indicates, it is a story of a brutal marriage with its main character, Diane, wishing she could “Stop The World” and “Get Off.” The kind of love that binds here is one that demeans, denigrates, and leaves not just the main character, but everyone in the family mutilated by its impenetrability. Charlesworth’s talents as a novelist are clear. She grapples with a not-very-pretty subject, sometimes too graphically for the reader’s dismay, but always carries the reader along by the same passion with which she sends her characters on their headlong race for redemption. Take a deep, deep breath and get ready for a ride that will take you into your own dark places and promise that things will be resolved… Or so we all hope.

5.0 Stars on Amazon

By Jacob Hobbs on January 31, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
That’s really all you can say once you finish the last page of this book. This book is… haunting. This peels back the curtain that so many of us hide behind, and this book simply emphasizes that in the end, there’s no use running from who you are. No pretending. No illusions. I didn’t expect to tear up, but the waves of emotion hit me one after the other. The characters are perfectly written, and the message isn’t shoved in your face. You’re left to ponder on some things, and what this book pulls out of you may be something you never expected to feel.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

Important book!
By Andrew on January 28, 2020
This was an important book for the issues it discusses. It is hard for an author to make a good book about negative things but this author did it. Highly recommend!

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

Well Written!
By Jose Buenaventura Durruti on January 27, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition

The Last Merry Go Round. C.L. Charlesworth, author. Mirador Publishing, UK, Reviewed by MSF @ Invisible College Publishing

There is no way to soften the cruelty and terror set forth in this novel. It’s all there in stark black and white.

Diane and Richard are caught in a web of their own making on so many levels. Both chose a path they thought was love and now it has soured, badly.

Diane shares her secret hell with her Dr. while awaiting the next prescription for her little white pills and longing for booze, these are a secret Richard knows nothing of.

The unveiling of the characters in Diane’s painful life and their own underlying secrets become more challenging and murky as the story progresses. The web of lies and cruelty grows ever larger.

This book is a challenge and uncomfortable to read , but the writing is smart and the character development is so intense, you may have met some of them for real!

The writer moves the story along at quite a pace forcing you too keep up and delve deeper, and deeper you go, like it or not. Twists and turns abound, some good, most not.

Fiction, yes, but this book also touches on the raw reality of so many in this world. A recommended read, it will leave you pondering the many issues set forth, and perhaps give/allow an empathetic look at the real world.

The ending is not one I saw coming. Read for yourself.

4.0 Star Review on Amazon

A book that holds your interest to the end and well worth reading
By Linda on January 21, 2020
I’ve never read a book of this nature and found it very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the book through the eyes of its main character. It is a book of victory over defeat and well worth the read.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

Exposing the dead end of power and control.
By Mike Conner on January 20, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
The story holds up a mirror to brutality and horror of the patriarchal condition. A metaphor of humanities plague. It explores the devastating reality of those of us caught up in the Webb of power and control. We see the male female relationship exposed in the raw ugly nature of a perpetrator’s entitled self aggrandizement. Bringing a stark reality to a theme we must all face and learn to transcend. This book was written with heart and soul.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

Raw and emotional
By Christina W. on January 13, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
It’s a very fast paced and engaging book. It’s sad, raw, and very emotional. You feel for Diane, and the book draws you in.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

Well-written page-turner with raw realism
By Mert Damlapinar on January 11, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
It’s not your typical candy romance story but a very well structured story about a strained marriage. A good read by the window on a rainy day at home. Some parts are very intense and others go along just smoothly.

5.0 Stars (Emailed)

Yuriko Shoji (Lisbon, Portugal)
January 7, 2020
An important book in the #MeToo era. The characters are interesting and presented in-depth, especially the women. Due to the universality of the issues involved, would recommend translation in other languages – and also would be a good book for Book Clubs. There are unresolved mysteries and more questions than answers, that could keep on boggling the mind to trigger good and lengthy discussions. Thankfully it has plenty of elements of entertainment, which makes it accessible. While happy for the heroine who was able to turn her fate, one asks what occurs in real life situations? (Sorry for spoiler)

4.0 Star Review on Amazon

Dark Secrets
By Sunshine Ink on January 7, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
Whoa! This book was super intense and exposed some dark secrets in a family you are just not sure about, and then the realism of lost people exposes the truth.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

This book is a real page turner – very difficult to put down.
By D. Byrnes on January 5, 2020
Format:  Paperback
The Last Merry Go Round is not just a good story. It is an interesting study about more than just physical and emotional trauma in a relationship. It also examines the relationships between women – mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. But, most importantly, was the acknowledgement and understanding about one’s own feelings about self worth and worthiness.

The subject material was difficult at times but the story was interesting with twists and turns along the way – especially at the end!

4.0 Star Review on Amazon

Twisty dark tale
By Botkin on January 5, 2020
Format:  Kindle Edition
Wasn’t sure that I would like this book by the synopsis, but I was drawn in and kept reading. This book is dark, relatable to many, and at times, depressing. But you just keep reading because you are so engaged by the melodrama that you have to find out how it ends. I really liked the ending–no spoilers!

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

A Melancholic Tragi-Romance with Real Life Reflections
By T.A. on December 30, 2019
Format:  Kindle Edition

This book reminds me of the Great Gatsby (that is an American classic, this book is good, but not THAT good 🙂

Why does it remind me of GG?

– Realism
– Introspective
– Situations that make you see your own melancholic story

This book is good with a cup of coffee by the fire on a rainy day. Play some music, settle in and feel the well written emotions of the characters within. That’s what I did and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

A memorable end
By Tamercindy on December 17, 2019
Format:  Kindle Edition
it seems almost like a mysterious soap opera. it had developed descriptive character and the most remarkable thing is the ending. Keeps you thinking even after you finish.

4.0 Star Review on Amazon

Difficult subject matter in a well-written book
By Julia Clem on December 15, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Thankfully, Diane builds a life for herself in the end. This is a well-written book that I find reminiscent of “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin or “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Warton. This novel tells of a strained marriage, and a woman teetering on the edge of insanity. It is worth a read, although the subject matter can be difficult at times.

5.0 Star Review on Amazon

Loved the end
By Janice M. Gilder on December 5, 2019
Format:  Paperback
The first part of this book was hard for me because I had a sister who had an abusive husband and it brought back some bad memories for me, but I glad I finished it. Diane Fletcher got away from her husband Richard and makes a life for herself in a new city and changes her life around. It just shows that friends and family and a good support system can change a life.
I like the twist at the end, watch for it.

5.0 Star Review on Goodreads

Jeff Jones’s Review
November 19, 2019
One of the best things about my job as a professional editor and proofreader, is that I get to read books in genres that I would never otherwise consider and are quite some way outside my comfort zone. The Last Merry Go Round by C.L. Charlesworth is definitely one such book.

This is not a book that I would normally have picked up off a shelf in a book store and I am very lucky that instead this author approached me as a potential client. Had she not done so, I in all likelihood would never have read this book and would have missed out on a terrific story, though to describe it as such, seems obtuse.

Covering domestic abuse, both physical and psychological and witnessing it through the protagonist’s eyes first hand, made for a very uncomfortable read and as a man I went through the full gamut of emotions including anger, disbelief and shame. Anger and shame that one human being could treat another in such a despicable and cruel way. Shame that some women feel they have to suffer this alone and are in some ways at fault and that a man could be so cruel and manipulative to the woman he professed to love.

This book was a real eye-opener for me and many times since I finished reading it I have found myself reflecting on parts of the story line.

It’s hard-hitting, it’s brutal and it will disturb you, but then this is a subject that needs confronting.

A highly recommended but challenging read.

The Ears that have Eyes

5.0 Star Review from Amazon

Quickly takes hold of your imagination.
August 3, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
This book has a little bit of everything: eating, drinking, romance, shock-and-awe. Just when you think you know the characters and what they will be doing, a new plot twist begins and changes the mood. The activity is non-stop. Not something I normally would read; however, it was fun and engaging. The characters are flawed in a hedonistic, self-absorbed, and puppy love period of their lives. Yet, reality and real choices need to be made that give the book its depth.

Alignable Recommendation

Highly Recommended
Author Dennis Cardiff
Ottawa, ON
I am reading The Ears That Have Eyes and am completely captivated by the character of Stephanie Moore who must overcome the burden of past abandonment and abuse to truly understand how to open herself up to love, vulnerability, and forgiveness. I too suffer from issues with abandonment and in Cheryl Charlesworth, I have found a kindred spirit.

5.0 Star Review from Amazon

Love this writer
By Joyce A. on August 10, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love this writer! Refreshing vibe and words just pop out at you and the story sucks you in. Characters are very relatable and definitely a page turner. I cannot wait to see what else this writer has in store for us.

5.0 Star Review from Amazon

I couldn’t put this book down!
By Karen Brunke on August 17, 2015
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I couldn’t put this book down! I was lured into the story immediately. Cheryl Charlesworth does a fantastic job portraying a young woman, her friends, and the journey they all take to find real meaning and love in their lives. Each character is developed very realistically and I could really relate with these ladies in many ways. The focus of the story is on Stephanie who must overcome the burden of past abandonment and abuse to truly understand how to open herself up to love, vulnerability, and forgiveness. It’s a struggle and she and her friends aren’t perfect people.

I believe there are lot of people who could relate to this story because we all have our pasts with baggage and this is a story of discovery and acceptance, something we can all benefit from as we go forward practicing life in all our unique ways. A very good read!

5 Star Review from Amazon

Let this story draw you in….you’ll soon be hooked
By Davia Larson on October 25, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This debut novel explores the turmoil of love and friendship through the life of Stephanie, a character haunted by her past and desperate to become whole. On the surface, she and her girlfriends may have it all—success, looks, and wealth—but beneath the glamour, each of them face immense challenges. The narrative mirrors what many of us find to be true—that the process of growth is taxing, full of both failure and success, trial and error. The book deftly weaves a plot that examines not only the role of passion, hatred, courage, and anger, but also explores what few novels discuss—the role that indifference and antipathy can play in relationships.

With page-turning action the story reveals the complexity of each character’s life and how personal decisions alter the dynamic between four women who have vowed to remain friends come what may. In the end, Stephanie has to come to terms with herself, startling truths about her past and future, and in the process accept that her quest may lead to an ending very different from what she has always imagined.

Spend some time with these characters—you won’t regret engaging with their lives as the novel draws you into an immensely satisfying story.

What I liked most about the story is that the lead character …
on June 13, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What I liked most about the story is that the lead character was finally willing to let go of old outworn versions of herself and her life to welcome in love and humility. She knew, in her heart, that there was more to life than what she had been exposed to on the surface. She learned that sometimes the process involves being vulnerable and involves loss but even this can be rewarding at times!

5 Star Review from Amazon

Expect the Unexpected
on June 6, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This extraordinary story is about betrayal, intended and unintended… Forgiveness and lack thereof… But mostly it is a story of family relations, friendships, relationships… More than ‘Waiting to Exhale’! Sexy, engaging, and The Ears That Have Eyes is exactly what you would want to read as your eyes and ears bear witness to the lives of these characters.

5 Star Review from Amazon

 on June 3, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read !!!

5 Star Review from Amazon

Debut Novel Shines
By Fellow Traveler on May 30, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
 The Ears That Have Eyes was my first exposure to this author, but I hope, not my last. When I came across the first section of her book on her webpage, it really floored me. The writing was beautiful and multifaceted. I was surprised by the direction the novel went, but surprises are good, not to mention rare. I will be watching for more of Charlesworth’s work.

5 Star Review from Amazon

A fast-paced, impressive page turner! The storyline as …
By Anastasia on May 26, 2015
This review is from: The Ears That Have Eyes (Paperback)
A fast-paced, impressive page turner! The storyline as a whole flows well, and accurately reflects the lives of its fictional characters. Perhaps you may find some bits and pieces in common with characters in the book, and begin to ponder their own story!

4 Star Review from Barnes & Noble

“The Ears that have Eyes” is by debut novelist C.L. Charlesworth
Calvin-Site of Contact | Posted May 26, 2015
“The Ears that have Eyes” is by debut novelist C.L. Charlesworth. She writes what she seems to know and that is women relationship with other women and their relationship to their male lovers. The book is like a roller coaster ride, the long steep climb of the coaster cars before you start the descent into the book. In the first 5 chapters, I felt sorry for but bored with the character who came off as shallow, tragic, and alone. Chasing after the promise of a beautiful life that money supposedly buys. Trying to get rich and famous through bad behavior and men. This social satire is biting, yet relevant to today reality television and the application of misplaced values.

The book picks up momentum as the Protagonist decides to get a hold on her life by finding counseling which allows the Protagonist life story to unfold and the archetypal search for source (her Mother) to begin.

Charlesworth’s primary story location was Los Angeles, in the period I guess between 1980 – 1990’s. It tells the story of seeking security and value in things at the expense of family and friends. How one can seem cursed when erroneous attitudes are carried over from one generation to the next. How secrets ensue and it’s safe to say that everybody connected to Stephanie our Protagonist will be stripped of their folly or have some type of retribution that must be paid. I liked the plot twist of the characters appearing not precisely as whom they seem to be, which moves the story line along.

5 Star Review from Amazon

By Donna L. Pizzi on May 21, 2015
Format: Paperback
TAKE THIS TO THE BEACH, ON A PLANE, TO A COMFY CHAIR… “The Ears that have Eyes” by C.L. Charlesworth is a fast-paced, page-turner of the “50 Shades of Grey” or Joan Collins potboiler variety. Once you’ve gotten on this train ride, you won’t be able to put it down. Impressive debut novel that promises more to come from a woman with non-stop ideas. Bravissima!

5 Star Review from Amazon

By Bonnie Cehovet VINE VOICE on May 17, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“I learned from my mother, who was once one of the highest paid fashion models, that great beauty opened doors. She never left home without impeccable attire, full makeup, and photo-ready hair. She said a woman’s sexuality was better than an American Express card, and if used right, the rewards were much better. Mother said her money was for pleasure and not for rent, food, or life’s other necessities. She had men-lots of men-whose generous wallets and bank accounts gladly emptied into her hands.” Excerpt from Chapter OneThis, in a nutshell, describes Stephanie Moore, the main character in C.L. Charlesworth’s “The Ears That Have Eyes”. Abandoned by her mother at the age of ten, abused in a foster home, then adopted by a couple bent on replacing their deceased daughter, Stephanie was on her own (by choice) from the age of eighteen. Her mother had tutored her well – she was a mini-me who knew how to use men to her advantage.Stephanie and her friends Rachael (partner in a law firm), Tara (a high powered real estate broker), and Jennifer (with her doctorate in English Literature ) meet monthly to share food, drinks, and stories. They live in LA, and all share a luxury lifestyle – the right cloths, the right addresses, the right parties, the right men. Each is running from her own shadows, each is walking her own path to finding herself, and creating her own life.

This is a work of literary fiction, worthy of Peyton Place status. Is a fake life worth it? Do material things make a life? Are any of these ladies going to survive their own perception of themselves and life? Is there hope, or is there only fate?

Each character has a story that is individual, and well developed. The storyline as a whole flows well, and accurately reflects the lives of its fictional characters. Perhaps readers will see bits and pieces of themselves here, and begin to ponder their own story.

This is the first book that I have read from this author … I certainly intend to keep her in my radar!

4 Star Review from Amazon

Don’t let the title miss lead [sic] you.
By Janice M. Gilder on May 17, 2015
Format: Paperback
This book had me for the first paragraph. LA woman living in the fast lane trying to get her life together and solve the mystery of her past.

My sister you are well versed with the imagination. I love the excerpt from the book “The Ears That Have Eyes”. GOD bless you on your endeavors and may the doors of prosperity open that you never would imagine. –Theodore

Cheryl: I’ve just finished reading your book in two sittings! I left a comment on your website when I’d read about 150 pages a few days ago. You have written a VERY COMMERCIAL book. I’m surprised that you haven’t found representation for it. I hope it will bring you the success you deserve. It’s a real page turner. Lots of sex (Kay says she asked if you were putting that in and hoped you were), and a million twists and turns (ala soap opera world).

Of course, I have a great soft spot in my heart for “Family Band,” and I’m surprised that it does not appear in your list of stories on your website. It’s a complex novel that shows your depth as a writer, and the African American experience, yours and countless others. I hope you will resuscitate it and add it to your list.

I am awed by the leaps you’ve made as a writer, and delighted that I could assist you along the way… You are “out of the closet” with this work… NOW FLOG IT!!!

BRAVISSIMA!!! –Donna Pizzi


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