An homage to the wonderful world of books! I dare any book lover to read The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and not fall in love. As you can tell by the title, this novel is about reading for pleasure. So, obviously I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am highly recommending you pick it up.
It begins with Sara, a young, shy Swedish woman landing in a small town in Iowa, waiting to picked up by her pen pal, Amy, whom she’s never met. She quickly discovers that Amy has passed away, although the townsfolk are eager to keep Sara comfortable, so they encourage her to stay in Amy’s house (yes it sounds weird, but small town hospitality is always strange to us city dwellers). While there, she decides to open a book shop in an attempt to revitalize the dying town and struggling population.
Sara herself is a fun character, one that will appeal to anyone who loves books. She prefers to read over just about anything else, and finds herself perfectly content with a book in hand and a warm cup of tea. But because of her addiction to reading, she finds herself adrift and wanting, similar to the people of Broken Wheel, and relationships are something she has little to no experience in. Which is where the ‘commercial fiction’ side of this book comes in. Like many chick lit books, Sara finds herself falling in love with a handsome man, and hilarity and happy endings ensue. Is this a reason to not read this book? No, not at all. I did find it a bit cliche, but not enough to warrant a negative review, and there is still enough meat to the story that the romance doesn’t completely take over.
If Sara sounds like someone you would like to know, you’ll be even more impressed with the bevy of characters that Bivald introduces. There’s Grace, the no-fuss, tough as nails lady who owns the only diner in town; George, the recently sober father whose wife and daughter left years ago; and Caroline, the uptight and religious do-gooder that’s in dire need of change. All of these characters are interesting, believable, and highly readable. Although Sara is the main protagonist of the story, each character comes with their own storyline, which adds even more colour to an already eclectic narrative. And if you need one last reason to read this book: it’s the English version of the original story written in Swedish, so you’ll sound extra intelligent when you can truthfully tell people you read translations.