This book took me to new heights of reading pleasure. It is a wonderful uplifting read and I felt rejuvenated afterwards. Before I read this book I was in a bit of reading rut and I was longing for a book to rush to my aid.
This is a book written by a booklover. It was clearly written for booklovers and guess what? It is a story about a BOOKLOVER! *Screech*
It ALSO has a DELICIOUS romance in it which unfolds in a bookshop. Damn it – I want to now rewind twenty years or so and meet my beloved in a book shop (as opposed to a dodgy nightclub in Wolverhampton).
The first chapter of this book drew me in. Sara, main character, a booklover, leaves Sweden, and goes to stay with her American pen friend, Amy, also a booklover, and when Sara arrives in the forgotten town of Broken Wheel she discovers some shocking news.
Before I give too much away, here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.
All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love
Here’s my review:
The book captures the craziness of a Swedish stranger in a small forgotten town in America beautifully.
Sara, the main character, shares my obsession with books.
“For as long as she could remember, she had thought that autumn air went well with books, that the two both somehow belonged with blankets, comfortable armchairs, and big cups of coffee or tea.”
“Can you smell it? The scent of new books. Unread adventures. Friends you haven’t met yet, hours of magical escapism awaiting you.”
Yes I can, Sara!
If more bookshop owners had taken the responsibility to hang warning signs, her life would have been much easier. Cigarette packets came with warnings, so why not tragic books? There was wording on bottles of beer warning against drinking and driving, but not a single word about the consequences of reading books without tissues to hand.”
High five to this idea!
“One of the most difficult things when you were trying to navigate the world of books was dealing with all the unreliable authors. They were so unbelievably tricky to keep track of. An author might write a brilliant book, only to follow it up with something utterly mediocre. Or, and this was almost worse, one might have written a brilliant book but then turn out to be dead. Then there were those authors who started a series but never finished it.”
I loved everything about Sara, even how she and Amy exchanged letters whilst living in Sweden and America, and in spite of their difference in age and location (Amy is an old lady, Sara a woman in her 20s) they bonded over books.
The town of Broken Wheel needed healing. I loved this setting for the book.
There are strong themes of community and belonging running throughout the book. Prior to arriving in Broken Wheel Sara felt like she only ever belonged between the pages of a book.
Sara’s idea for a bookstore is inspired and the way it was described in the book made me want to hot foot it down B&Q, buy in a shed load of yellow paint and then go buy some old vintage sofas. Wouldn’t we all like to go to a sunshine yellow bookshop, full of every sort of book and two comfy old armchairs to sit in and read all day?
There’s a lot of references of good books throughout the story and this adds to one’s reading enjoyment.
This book is a great read and it is on my list of top reads for 2019. I want to buy copies for the booklovers in my life, press into their hands and tell them to go and enjoy.
Thank you to Katarina Bivald who reignited my love of books.
Have a great day reading fans!