Broken Wheel - A Review

READERS OF THE BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND by Katarina Bivald and translated by Alice Menzies

 
This was a charming read that will, without a doubt, hold lots of appeal for those who are already book lovers.  If there’s someone you know that doesn’t understand the love of books … hand them a copy of this and insist they read it.  It might just enlighten them to some of the magic found in the pages of a book and entertain them with a good story as well.
 
Sara Lindqvist lost her job at a small bookstore so finding herself at loose ends she decides that the time is right to visit her pen-pal Amy Harris.  She packs up her things and makes the trip from Sweden to the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa.  She and Amy have been corresponding for a long time, sharing not only things about themselves but their mutual love of books.  Unfortunately for Sara, the day she arrives in Broken Wheel is also the day of Amy’s funeral.  With Amy’s house available to her for as long as she cares to stay Sara decides, despite not knowing another soul in the small, somewhat forgotten and run down town, to finish out her holiday in Broken Wheel.
 
The citizens of Broken Wheel, out of respect for their beloved Amy, welcome Sara and try to keep her entertained.  But reading and walking can only hold a young lady’s attention for so long.  In an attempt to fit in Sara takes all of Amy’s books and starts a small, almost “pop up” bookstore.
 
Sara’s one little change to the main street seems to invigorate the town and as one by one they begin to drop by the bookstore Sara gets to know her quirky neighbors and they her.
 
But are the books she’s recommending enough to bring this sleepy little town back to life?
 
This was a good story and I adored Ms. Bivald’s small town characters.  I don’t think she missed a cliché or a stereotype yet made them all come together in a very readable and very entertaining book.  Ms. Bivald managed to slip a few book recommendations within the pages of this book weaving them seamlessly into the story.  She made me want to visit Broken Wheel and Sara’s bookstore.
 
As much as I would highly recommend this book to a wide variety of readers I am giving it 3 1/2 stars.  After reading the first two-thirds of the book and being totally drawn in by the story and characters I was a little let down by the last third.  It seemed the book went from charming and humorous to comical and almost slapstick.  I think “Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend” deserved better.
 
I received this book at no charge from the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her Goodreads author profile)
 

Katarina Bivald grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves she can get by her. She's currently trying to persuade her sister that having a shelf for winter jackets and shoes is completely unnecessary. There should be enough space for a bookshelf or two instead. Limited success so far. Apparently, her sister is also stubbornly refusing to even discuss using the bathroom to store books. Katarina Bivald sometimes claims that she still hasn't decided whether she prefer books or people but, as we all know, people are a non-starter. Even if you do like them, they're better in books. Only possible problem: reading a great book and having no one to recommend it to.