Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor–not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together–and change everything. There’s a book for every person. . .and a person for every book.
(True rating: 3.5)
I love a delicious long, almost sentence-like title, so The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend definitely caught my eye. Who are these readers, what is Broken Wheel, and what exactly do they recommend? I wanted to know. After reading the story description, I was sold.
TROBWR has everything you would expect from a book about small-town life–gossip, sex, intrigue, and teensy tiny dose of lawbreaking. Having said that, though, the book is relatively clean, if that’s something that matters to you. There’s little cursing and no explicit or graphic content. While there is an overarching plot, the story is pieced together with little episodic anecdotes reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird that made my Southern Lit loving heart happy as can be.
Ms. Rivald’s true strength is her character development. Each and every character has a story and a fully formed personality. They’re all equal parts lovable and infuriating, and they each have their own fatal flaw. Sara tries to save them through books while they all try to save her from books. It’s all very entertaining.
Now for the critical bits. The translation from Swedish to English could have been better. There were several times where the wording felt off, and while it made linguistic sense, it didn’t feel authentic–I wouldn’t expect a bunch of people from a backwoods town like Broken Wheel to say “mad” rather than “crazy,” for example. Additionally, (SPOILERS AHEAD) the romantic relationships are very odd. Tom and Sara falling in love seemed very anticlimactic after all the buildup, and the whole thing with Caroline and Josh just felt contrived. I never really bought either of them being into one another. (SPOILER ENDED).
With all that being said, I did enjoy reading TROBWR and would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys tales of love, small town living, and of course, books!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
She 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.