As promised, here's the book report that will be appearing monthly here at Brandywine Cottage.
This month's book is The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald.
Sara and Amy are pen-pals (?) from Sweden and Iowa, respectively. Young Sara doesn't seem to have much of a life in Sweden, and older Amy is dying in Iowa. Amy's last hope is for Sara to come to Broken Wheel, Iowa, to breathe some new life into the dying town (where all of the inhabitants are broken, as well) and to meet her nephew, Tom.
Obviously, readers will understand that Amy and Sara read to escape their real lives...Amy's life of sadness and Sara's life of nothingness...and at its core this is a book about books. It is a love story, but not just about love between people, but the love of books and how a book might transform your life.
Was this one of those transformative books? No. It was a sweet book with an interesting premise, but not one that I will remember for very long. The translation from the Swedish was well done (the last Swedish book I read being The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I did not love at all and let's blame the translation, shall we?), but it got to be clumsy at the end. Was it predictable? Yes. But perhaps that was what it was meant to be...Amy predicted that Sara's appearance in Broken Wheel was going to give something necessary to the town. I'm sure Amy saw her younger self in Sara, and she knew that once she was gone, someone was going to have to step up and take her place. The Swedish girl who loved books was her choice.
The portrayal of a dying town and it's broken people was of great interest to me, as I know these places and people well. Some folks choose to go back to a dying town (like Andy), while others appear to be stuck forever (like Grace). Is it a happy thought that one person can coax a dying town back to life just by opening a bookstore? Yes, it is. But one must be willing to suspend disbelief.
On a five-star scale, I would give this book 2.5 stars.