I read the most delightful book over Christmas! The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend first came to my attention when I read Claire’s review of it. I thought it sounded like a wonderful comfort read, and it absolutely is. It is a feel-good book that has depth to it and is sure to make any book aficionado frequently nod with enthusiasm.
The main characters, Sara and Amy, meet via a book-swapping website, and through their letters and the books they exchange they become friends. When Sara, who lives in Sweden, loses her job, Amy, who lives in Broken Wheel, Iowa, invites her to visit. And contrary to her nature, Sara takes a plunge and goes to meet her friend in person. Remembering Amy’s vivid letters, Sara has no trouble recognizing the people she meets in Broken Wheel, although things are definitely different from what she had expected. Because of various events and circumstances, Sara finds herself tending to a new bookstore in town. It is an easy way for her to get to know the people who live in Broken Wheel, and soon she feels at home in this Midwestern small town. There are a number of quirky characters, and not all of them know what to do with Sara, the new store, or even the books they find inside. Yet slowly but surely, people come together to make the most of their one and only visitor and the possibility of their town’s revival, which seems to have arrived with Sara.
I truly enjoyed reading this book. There are a lot of references to other books in this one; the author must be a passionate reader herself. I loved that these references included everything from Harry Potter to Iris Murdoch. Even The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society was mentioned, a book I was reminded of while reading. The love story in this book felt a little rushed to me. However, I am willing and eager to overlook that because I finally found a slightly awkward character who does not magically become graceful only because she has suddenly found her love interest. She remained true to character throughout the entire story, which was wonderfully refreshing.
If you are not sure whether you might like this book, answer the following to find out:
- Do you sometimes get so lost in your reading that you completely forget your surroundings?
- Do you enjoy the smell of new books (and can you smell the difference between paperbacks and hardcovers)?
- Do you sometimes wish your guests would leave because you desperately want to finish your current read?
- The first time you read Persuasion, were you slightly disappointed because it is not Pride & Prejudice, but after rereading it a couple of times, you now like Persuasion better?
- Do you frequently contemplate reorganizing your book shelves because you are convinced there’s a better way to display your books?
- Do you spend too much time looking for books for the friend who claims to be an absolute non-reader?
- Do you often make ambitious lists of books to read, only to get distracted by other books as soon as your list is finished?
- Do you sometimes prefer fictional characters to actual people?
- Do you sometimes wish you worked in a bookstore, because then you “could read all the books, all the time”?
- Do you like chocolate?
If you answered “yes” to just one of these questions, you will enjoy reading about Sara and Broken Wheel.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley. The publisher, Sourcebooks, is running a giveaway for the book, and you can enter it here. And because this book celebrates the independent bookstore, you can nominate your favorite one here, and Sourcebooks will award the winning bookstore with $3,000. Now go and put this book on your TBR list. Or better yet, start reading right away.