The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Published by Chatto & Windus
18th June 2015
Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it’s time. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind.
But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it’s almost beyond repair are all the people she’s come to know through Amy’s letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy’s guarded nephew Tom.
Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.
Sara arrives in America, from Sweden to meet and stay with her elderly penpal Amy. They don't have very much in common except for their love of books, and it is that which has pulled Sara away from her native home to travel half way across the world to spend some time in the small town of Broken Wheel. However when Sara arrives, Amy isn't there to greet her, and it is only when she finally gets a lift into Broken Wheel that she discovers that since she left home, Amy has died. However, the townsfolk have decided that Amy would still want Sara to experience her hospitality and they invite Sara to stay in Amy's house and continue her holiday as if she were still alive.
Sara already knows much about Broken Wheel and it's inhabitants from Amy's letters, but she's not planning on telling them that, and the town soon decide that what Sara needs most is company, or more specifically, male company, in the shape of Amy's nephew Tom. Tom, however, doesn't appear to be so keen on this plan!
Whilst Sara is kicking up her heels as best as she can, she decides that what the town of Broken Wheel actually needs, is a book shop, and using Amy's collection, plus purchased items of her own, she sets one up in an empty store in the centre of town. Can she turn the non-readers of Broken Wheel, plus it's neighbouring town of Hope, into the book lovers that she and Amy were? And whilst she's whiling away the hours, will love finally bloom in Broken Wheel for any of it's inhabitants?
This book is full of quirky characters plus the small minded gossip of those who inhabit a small town. I really enjoyed the book and was drawn into Broken Wheel completely. It's also a book about books, and there are many to discover amongst it's pages. The ultimate question is, are books better than people, and that's certainly debatable! Were parts of the story totally far-fetched at times? Yes they were, but then if a book can't do that, then what is the point? I'd certainly visit Broken Wheel, and of course, Amy's bookstore anytime.