Saturday 13 June 2015

Review: the Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broker Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Publisher: Vintage Books
Release date: 18 June 2015
Rating: ****
Back cover blurb: Warning: once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen… Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it’s time. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind. But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it’s almost beyond repair are all the people she’s come to know through Amy’s letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy’s guarded nephew Tom. Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop. 

 ‘There’s always a person for every book. And a book for every person.’

Of course we bookish types knew that already- but a book about books is nevertheless a wonderful thing. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is all that and more.

Sara Lindqvist loves books, just adores them, prefers them to people even. In fact Sara's life pretty much reolves around books, especially so when she leaves Sweden for the first time to visit Amy Harris, a womans she has never met in Broken Wheel, Iowa.

Amy and Sara have corresponded (and bonded) over a love of literature, and when Amy asks Sara to visit, it seems like the logical next step in their bookish relationship. But when Sara eventually arrives in Broken Wheel, it appears that Amy is dead. 

Sara has half a mind to turn around and get straight on the next plane home, but there is something so welcoming about the residents of Broken Wheel that Sara can't help but feel she should stay for a little while.

And then... she discovers Amy's book collection, and thinks how sad it is that Amy will never read them again. As Sara begins to grow increasingly frustrated that the residents of Broken Wheel never let her pay for anything as Amy was so fond of her, she wonders how she can give something back to the community. There is one thing that Broken Wheel doesn't have that Sara thinks it desperately needs, though she's not sure its inhabitants will feel the same.

A bookshop.

Sara isn't allowed to work on her tourist visa, but there is nothing to say that she can't volunteer...

As Sara begins to feel more and more at home in Broken Wheel, time is running out on her visa, but Broken Wheel doesn't want her to leave. What happens next is an extraordinary story of the true warmth of humanity and of a genuine community spirit that is so rare these days.

You could almost write a book about it.... 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is out on 18 June and available to pre-order now from Vintage Books and Amazon online.
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Thank you to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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