This is a fabulous book that I am sure anyone who loves to read will love! Sara believes that “there’s a person for every book. And a book for every person” and I’m sure all booklovers will agree. I absolutely fell in love with the town of Broken Wheel and all its quirky, memorable inhabitants. Sara is a young Swedish tourist who comes to visit her elderly penpal Amy, only to discover she has just died – not a promising start to the holiday. But she feels that “as long as she had books and money, nothing could be a catastrophe” – a girl after my own heart!
After she decides to open a bookshop using Amy’s books, the sleepy small town begins to come to life again. Sara’s knack of matching books to people has surprising consequences for them and begin to revitalise the town. There were so many funny scenes in the story. I loved the part where Sara is lost in a book for hours and a crowd forms outside the shop waiting until she looks up. I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling of being completely engrossed in a story. Following an unexpected romantic encounter, this quote made me laugh too: “These things happen. Even between friends. You find yourselves sitting on a sofa together, lose concentration, and then suddenly you’re lying there with them on top of you. An accident, Sara thought”. And this unexpected romance is a very sweet part of the story. I say unexpected but it was perhaps only unexpected by Sara and the man involved. Amy certainly seemed to anticipate it in her letters and the townspeople certainly think it will solve a problem. Or will bureaucracy in the form of the US Immigration department get in the way?
I just loved this book. I think it confirms what all readers know – life is better when you are a reader. You never know what will happen when you start to read. A book about a book-lover and reading that all book lovers will fall in love with, it’s a real feel-good story. One added bonus is that you will feel a sense of satisfaction at recognising all the book references scattered throughout the story!
My thanks to Netgalley for the review copy. Published in paperback by Chatto & Windus on June 18th 2015.
What the book’s about:
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.