Thursday, January 21, 2016
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Sara Lindqvist left Sweden to visit Amy Harris in Broken Wheel, Iowa because the two women shared a passion for books. They talked about books in their letters, sent each other gifts of books, and Amy introduced Sara to residents of the small town, population 637. Sara is eager to meet Amy, talk about books, and meet the people Amy loved. But, when Sara arrives for her two month visit, she finds the funeral guests at Amy's house. What's Sara going to do for two months in a dying Iowa town? Once she's walked up and down the several streets, several times, once she's been to the bar called the Square, the local diner, the hardware store that sells groceries, once she's seen all the empty storefronts, she's seen Broken Wheel.
But, people in Broken Wheel are determined to take care of Sara because they loved Amy. The town council even take her on as a project. People not only drive her around, they won't let her pay for anything. In desperation, determined to pay them back somehow, Sara opens the Oak Tree Bookstore, using Amy's books to start the collection. But, people in Broken Wheel don't know what to do with a bookstore. But, when Sara "talks" to Amy, she says, "We'll spread books and stories in Broken Wheel together." And, it isn't long before Sara's spreading more than stories. She's spreading hope and a future.
Bivald's book may not be exactly subtle, with names such as Broken Wheel and Hope for communities. But, oh, it's a story for book lovers. Sara is a passionate reader, and she's determined to find the right book for everyone, whether it's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe, Helen Fielding's novels, Terry Pratchett's books. Sara discusses books and authors, reliable and unreliable authors.
And, she shares her books with all the quirky residents of this broken town - Grace, the loud, strong woman, the gay men who run the bar and tell her she doesn't carry erotic literature for them, George who is still mourning the daughter who disappeared from his life, Caroline, the formidable woman who works as if driven by commandments, Jen, who sees everything as an item for the hometown newsletter, Amy's nephew, Tom, who sees a duty to Broken Wheel. It's a community that made me laugh out loud at times with some of their plans. But, it's a community of survivors who are used to looking out for each other. And, now they've taken Sara under their wing. And, they're determined to keep her in Broken Wheel.
"Can you smell it? The scent of new books. Unread adventures. Friends you haven't met yet, hours of magical escapism awaiting you." Thank you, Katarina Bivald, for characters who became friends, for Sara Lindqvist, a wonderful book lover. Thank you for The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.
Katarina Bivald's website is http://katarinabivald.se/en/
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. Sourcebooks Landmark. 9781492623441 (paperback), 400p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.