"The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend" by Katarina Bivald

Sara has always been a girl that keeps to herself, preferring the company of books rather than people.  But when the bookshop she works at in her home country of Sweden closes down, she isn’t sure what to do next.  So when her elderly pen pal Amy invites her to stay at her home in Broken Wheel, Iowa, she goes against everything she’s known herself to be and takes Amy up on her offer.

But when Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, she discovers that Amy has died.  In fact, Sara arrives on the day of the funeral.  Now she will be staying in the dead woman’s house for the next two months, in a very small town in a foreign country.

Broken Wheel isn’t known for anything really and Sara quickly discovers that.  As she gets to know the people of the community, she realizes that the town is desperately in need of a pick-me-up.  And Sara knows just what to do - she opens a bookshop.  It takes a bit of convincing to get the townspeople on board with the idea but once it all falls into place, the town becomes filled with friendship, romance, and quite a bit of adventure.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald is a sweet, lovely novel about how much books can change lives. Filled with warmth, love, and humour, this is a must-read for any book lover.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  I knew I wanted to read it because I really enjoy books about books and of course, what book lover doesn’t dream of owning their own book shop?  I thought it would be a cute read, one of those “fill some time” books but it ended up being much more than that.  I fell in love with the town, it’s inhabitants, and the book shop (and of course, I can relate Sara wanting to spend time with books over people.)

The characters in this book are absolutely charming, even the ones that give a “don’t bother me” vibe for much of the book.  I’m not familiar with small-town life but I imagine that Bivald has gotten it pretty right.  You don’t have to worry about being well-read to enjoy the way the characters talk about books.  In this one, people are reading everything from Proust to Bridget Jones to gay erotica.  There is a book for everyone in this novel.  And what is lovely about this novel is that it can actually be for everyone.  Readers of all ages and walks of life will enjoy this book, I believe.  Because books have that power to bring us all together.  

This is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold, rainy day or to take to the beach with you.  It’s perfect for reading on a commute or when you just want to escape for a little bit.  It is delightful and heartwarming, and is a gem of a novel.  I’ll be recommending this one to lots of people.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. The opinions expressed above are my own.


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