The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald

As any booklover knows, once you let books into your life, the most unexpected and wonderful things happen. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend takes this idea and crafts it into a beautiful story of love, loss and courage.

Sara is 28 and has never left Sweden – except in the many books she has read. When her elderly pen pal Amy invites her to come and visit her in America, Sara decides it is time to fly the nest. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her. Amy has died. Finding herself alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere is not the holiday Sara had planned.

But she discovers she isn’t alone. She knows the inhabitants through the many letters she and Amy exchanged. Taking it upon herself, Sara realizes that while the town may be broken it is not irreparable. What it needs is a bookshop.

Translated from the Swedish edition by Alice Menzies, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a whimsical story about the simple joy books brings us. It’s about learning from them, escaping from them and possibly even hiding behind them. Yes, the plot may be a little too far fetched, but it’s a heartwarming tale.

Sara is a fantastic heroine to aspire to. She is warm, geeky and oddly familiar. While Sara may be the main character, every minor character is well rounded and unique – how could you not love recovering alcoholic George who develops a passion for Bridget Jones? Coming from a small town I could easily relate the characters to reality, and there were several times when I laughed out loud because it was all so familiar.

Bivald does try to squeeze in a lot, which can at times make it seem a little rambling. There is a lot going on between all the characters and the book could have benefited from some pruning. However, the screwball comedy that is Sara’s love life makes it worthwhile to stick with.

Bivald grew up working part time in a bookshop and her love of all things books is plainly obvious. The references to some real literary greats will make any booklover melt. A quick and indulgent read any bibliophile will adore.

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TITLE: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
AUTHOR(S): Katarina Bivald
RRP: $35.00
ISBN: 9780701189075

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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