This came highly recommended by a friend, so I downloaded it straight away.
Here’s the blurb …
Warning: once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
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?
The Readers of Broken Wheel has touches of 84 Charing Cross Road, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Chocolat, but adds an off-beat originality and intelligence all its own.
This is a really sweet book about books and reading – it reminded me a bit of The Collected Works of A J Fikry. Sara, a bit of a lost soul, arrives in Broken Wheel to visit her pen-pal Amy. Unfortunately Amy has died, but the locals are expecting Sara and she ends up staying in Amy’s house. She slowly gets to know the locals and decides everyone’s lives would be better if they just read more (or even just read a book). She sets up a store selling Amy’s books. It is a failure at first, but when town pride is at stake (the local ‘big town’ are scoffing at Broken Wheel having a book store) the local people rally around to make it a success. There is romance, community and creating a sense of belonging.
One of the great things about this novel – apart from all of the book references – is the characters; Poor George, Grace (who comes from a line of rebellious women), Caroline (an extraordinary organiser who has an unexpected romance), Gertrude and May (they remind me of the two men from the Muppets who sat in the balcony and criticised everything) , Tom, Andy and the impossibly handsome Carl.
Another review …