The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (review by Kristi)

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

From Goodreads:  Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

My review: I found this to be just a so-so read. I liked the premise of the story and the two main characters were totally relatable in their love of books. However, the story fell flat of my expectations and left me feeling a bit disappointed at the end.

Sara and Amy, the two main characters of the book, were instantly kindred spirits. They loved books and I enjoyed the way the author wrote Amy’s character in the form of letters to Sara that described the town and its quirky occupants and mentioned some of the books they had read or should read. The other members of the town were easy to like and relate to as well. There weren’t a lot of them either which made it easy to keep them straight in my mind while reading.

The author did a great job of portraying the small town. Considering she is Swedish I thought she was spot on in her descriptions of the town and its occupants. It was easy to visualize the town and so easy to relate to the idea of everyone knowing everyone else’s business.

The reason I gave this book two stars instead of three is it seemed just too long to me. I have no problem reading long books but this book lost itself somewhere in the second half. During the first half, I really enjoyed the way the author mentioned the titles of numerous books (and a favorite of mine, Anne of Green Gables), but during the second half, it became tedious. Added to that a second storyline suddenly popping up and it just found it a bit too much. The characters were no longer quirky in a fun way and the down on its luck town was a bit annoying, too. I think with a bit of good editing this book would have stayed just as fun to read during the second half as the first.

Even though I wouldn’t recommend this book, if you like books about books, bookstores, and small towns you may enjoy this one.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

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