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This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.
It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair.
Or is it?
~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
Sara worked in a bookstore in Sweden and over time became friends with Amy, an elderly American who lived in Broken Wheel, Iowa, creating a bond of friendship over their love of books. So when Sara loses her job and is invited to Broken Wheel, Sara takes that chance.
But not everything has a fairy tale ending. Upon entering Broken Wheel, Sara learns that Amy has died and Broken Wheel isn’t at its best. No jobs, few businesses, Broken Wheel reeks of hopelessness. With the help from the townspeople, Sara decides to stay and starts up a bookstore in memory of Amy.
Sara is easily an identifiable character for me, a shy woman who escapes real life into the world of literature and this book was great to read. Filled with charm, and a weird (but loveable) array of characters, this book was a joy to read. Although the romance was light, it was still a story of love: love for books and friendship, this truly is a wonderful read.
However, the beginning of the book was intriguing to read; the responses to the friendship of Sara and Amy was interesting but as the book progressed, it did lose a bit of charm and felt like it was dragging on far too much. I wanted to care about the inhabitants of Broken Wheel, but a select few were often flat and blurred together.
Overall, the bookish element is enjoyable and satisfying to read as it’s pretty much constant and there was a load of lovely moments, including Amy’s letters to Sara..