The International Bestseller 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.
This was not the book I expected it to be – although I’m not even sure what I did expect – but The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend was a great story that was fun to read! I had never heard of this author, Katarina Bivald, but I was glad I took the chance to read this book. Once I had finished the book, I realized that Ms. Bivald is actually a first-time author and that she had her book published in her native language (Swedish, of course) in 2013. It was then translated by her translator, Alice Menzies, who has done an amazing job since I couldn’t even believe this was a novel “in translation”.
The story begins with the main character, Sara, who travels from Sweden to visit the small obscure and dying town of Broken Wheels, Iowa. Sara arrives in town just in time for the funeral of a woman named Amy, that she was supposed to be meeting for the first time. We learn how Sara and Amy were pen pals who had been exchanging letters and books for some time prior to Amy’s death.
When Sara arrives in Broken Wheels, the town people welcome her and insist that she stay at Amy’s house. They refuse to let her pay for anything and because Sara feels that she needs to give something in return, so she opens a book store with Amy’s stash of books. Sara brings new life to both herself and the town with her bookstore and the townspeople don’t let her leave when her visa is about to expire.
I will admit that the story was somewhat predictable, but the characters are fun and quirky, and it was light, easy to read that kept my attention nonetheless. As I am sure others will say, there can be nothing wrong with a book that is about – well, books! The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a chick lit” kind of book that keeps you entertained throughout the book while doing a little “name dropping” of books and authors too!
Catherine Bivald, born in 1983, worked extra in a bookstore during most of her childhood and still can not walk into a bookstore without instinctively correct bokhögar. Today she lives in Älta outside Stockholm with his sister and so many bookshelves she can fit. She still has not decided whether she prefers books or people. Life, motorcycles and other impossible projects are Katarina Bivalds second novel. Successful debut Readers in Broken Wheel recommend came out in 2013 and became an international best-seller that was sold to 23 countries.
I was provided with a complimentary digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and unbiased opinion.