Genre: Contemporary, Chick-Lit, Women's Fiction
The New York Times 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 adorable book is a peach. It's built on the same lines as Cold Comfort Farm or Chocolat... Wise, thoughtful, funny, warm, moving; all that stuff and more' Wendy Holden, Daily Mail
There are some books you start reading and connect with straight away. They enchant you with the characters and setting so you feel you are a part of the story. This was one of those books for me. I met Sara and the town of Broken Wheel and knew I was going to fall head over heels for them and their stories. I simply couldn’t get enough and even upon finishing, I’m a bit sad to see this book end.
This books is all about Sara, a Swedish visitor to the US, going to a small town, Broken Wheel, to visit a woman she has been writing letters to only to discover she had died. She finds herself at a loss as to what to do next but the residents of said small town don’t seem to want to see her go. They interfere and meddle and basically befriend her by force. Sara finds herself trying to find something to fill her days and ends up opening a bookshop in memory of the friend she never got to meet and who was central to this small community and somehow Sara and her little shop become central to the community too.
So How Did I Fall In Love?
I think the reason I enjoyed it so much is I can really relate to Sara in so many ways. Not all readers are shy reserved people who prefer books over people, but some of us are and I could relate to that about to her. I could relate to her life back in Sweden of working and reading and doing little else and I understood her need to find more in her trip to the US. I loved seeing her break out of her shell and become this heart of a community she was initially disappointed by.
It wasn’t just the character of Sara, though. I mean, I have little in common with an unemployed former bookshop employee from Sweden travelling to small town USA. It was the entire town of Broken Wheel which I fell in love with, From George the recovering alcoholic who missed his daughter to Caroline, the forceful paragon of the church who is always on you for something and judging you for something but who you put up with as she is one of the town. I don’t think there was any resident of this small town who I didn’t love. I think I knew I was in love when the residents of Broken Wheel, who had been adamant they had no need for the book shop Sara started, banded together to prove to the residents of nearby Hope they were not illiterate and uneducated as it was implied when they came to visit and marvel that Broken wheel had a book shop! I mean, any town which bands together to show up the slightly richer nearby town where they can shove their superiority complex is a town I want to visit.
The other great thing about Broken Wheel is that they didn’t only support one another when it came to proving other wrong. They helped one another out daily, giving away food and helping repair things without expecting anything return. This may be a town filled with interfering busybodies, but it’s also a town of people who are good and will always help each other out because they know no one else will.They are kind even though they are all suffering after the recession with little or no money to spare and barely anything to offer. They have each others backs. Who can blame Sara for being charmed by this small town, I was as well?
The Question Is Would I Recommend It?
Of course I would. This is a book for reader and I adored it. I adored the book shop and the characters and the town and the slightly farfetched story which just seemed to work. I loved the various shelf titles and the bookish quotes and references and the fact Sara admitted to preferring books over people sometimes. I have that feeling often. I was charmed by the book and wanted to highlight so many things because this book just got me as a reader and I loved it for that fact. There is no guarantee this book is for everyone but it was pretty damn enjoyable for me.
Have you read this book, what did you think? What was the last really good book about a bookshop which you read? I’m noticing it’s becoming popular in books and I think I want to start a little bookshop reading list.