Sunday, 23 August 2015

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

A debut novel to charm all readers, that shows beyond all doubt that it's books, along with love, that make the world go round.
It all began with a correspondence between two quite different women: 28-year-old Sara from Haninge, Sweden, and 65-year-old Amy from the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa. After years of exchanging books, letters and thoughts on the meaning of literature and life, Sara, mousy, disheveled, who has never been anywhere in her life--has really lived only for her work in a beloved bookshop, which has just closed its doors for the last time--bravely decides to accept her unknown friend's invitation to visit. But when she arrives, she finds her house empty, the funeral guests just heading home. . .
Sara finds herself alone. And what choice do the inhabitants of Broken Wheel have but to take care of their bewildered tourist? And what choice does Sara have, faced with a town where nobody reads and her desire to honour her friend, but to set up the perfect bookshop with all the books she and Amy shared--from Yann Martel's Life of Pi to Iris Murdoch and Jo Nesbo, to Bridget Jones and Doug Coupland's All Families Are Psychotic to Little House on the Prairie? And then watch as the townsfolk are, one by one, transformed in unexpected ways. . .
In the glorious tradition of 84 Charing Cross Road, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, Jane Austen, and movies such as You've Got Mail and Love Actually, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a big-hearted, witty book about books, friendship, love--and always being open to the unexpected.

Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 25th 2015 by Bond Street Books (first published 2013) 
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy of this book directly from Random House Canada as part of their blogger program in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I knew as soon as I started this book that I was probably going to like it. It's a book about books, what more do I need to say? The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was mentioned in the synopsis which I absolutely loved so I knew that if it was even half as good that I'd be in for a real treat.

There was almost a magical quality to the story and how the town of Broken Wheel reacted to Sara coming to stay. There wasn't much left for anyone in the town but with a vacant store and whole bunch of books, Sara brought some much needed life into the town and people. It put a smile on my face to read about the changes both big and small that came with it.

This book had some of the most unique and quirky characters that I have had the pleasure of reading. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single character from Broken Wheel tremendously. They were all very different and they all had problems but I still adored each and every one of them. It didn't matter whose voice was being heard because I cared about each of their stories. I particularly liked the interactions between Sarah and Tom.

Bivald did a fabulous job in describing the tiny town and life within it. I could picture myself amongst the locals and I could definitely picture myself in the book store. It was really easy to get lost in the book. The plot itself may seem a little far fetched to some readers but it is what I found so charming about it. A foreign tourist comes to visit and an entire town basically adopts her. Perhaps it was my love of books that had me enjoying it so thoroughly but I think it was more than that. Great writing with a charming plot and a cast of unique and unusual characters are more likely the reason.

I enjoyed every minute of my time with this book and I would highly recommend it to lovers of books about books.


About the Author

Katarina Bivald grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves she can get by her. She'scurrently trying to persuade her sister that having a shelf for winter jackets and shoes is completely unneccessary. There should be enough space for a book shelf or two instead. Limited success so far. Apparantly, her sister is also stubbornly refusing to even discuss using the bath room to store books.

Katarina Bivald sometimes claims that she still hasn't decided whether she prefer books or people but, as we all know, people are a non-starter. Even if you do like them, they're better in books. Only possible problem: reading a great book and having noone to recommend it to.

Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar/The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is her first novel.

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