Publishing date: January 19, 2016
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 book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor -- not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.
There’s a book for every person ... and a person for every book.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is the first book I read in 2016, which I enjoyed so much I deemed it an auspicious start to my reading year. It begins when Sara, an unemployed book store clerk from Sweden, arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa. Broken Wheel is described as a dead end town, leading me to worry that the novel was not going anywhere either. Sara, too, at first seems too timid and fearful to be our heroine. So we've got a town in the middle of nowhere America and an unlikely protagonist who somehow work their quirky magic on each other. Through the language of books and the love of reading, Sara falls in love with town and its eccentric inhabitants, the town falls in love with Sara, and the reader falls in love with the novel.
"'People are better in books,' she muttered.
"In books, people were charming and friendly, and life followed certain set patterns. If a person dreamed of dong something, you could be almost certain that, by the end of the book, they would almost certainly be doing that very thing. And they would find someone to do it with. In the real world, you could be almost certain that person would end up doing absolutely anything other than what they had dreamt of."
I found The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to be the charming and heartwarming novel I had wished The Little Paris Bookshop had been (but wasn't). Any novel that unabashedly and proudly finds wisdom in Harry Potter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Harlequin romances is a gem!
"Can you smell it? The scent of new books. Unread adventures. Friends you haven't met yet, hours of magical escapism awaiting you."