What an absolute joy to read! 

Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Vintage Digital (18 Jun. 2015)

ISBN: 978 070 118 9068

Publishers: Chat & Windus
Translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies

Available to buy from:      AMAZON UK or other online or High street stores.

Synopsis by Goodreads:  

This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.

It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair

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This is a delightful Sunday, curled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate book.

Sara living in Sweden accepts an invitation to visit her book reading pen pal, Amy, in Broken Wheel, Iowa USA and arrives during her funeral.

Amy was an influential force in the town and learning who she was brings Sara into the heart of Broken Wheel until she herself becomes influential in the towns future centred very much around books.

I enjoyed this perceptive observation.

How could it be possible to have travelled thousands of miles and still be the same person when you arrived? Sara couldn’t understand it.

I understand how that feels!

The town of broken wheel had given up ‘life’ long ago with its inhabitance just getting by until Sara arrives and opens a book shop. We learn about each of their lives, hopes, and fears through Sara, and Amy’s letters to her.

This is such a sweet book written by someone who loves books, for people who love books. I am not just talking about the written word but books themselves. When Sara is introducing a young girl Sophy to books she gets her to smell each book and experience how each one is different.

Sophy lifted the book to her face, still cautiously and carefully, and slowly breathed in through her nose. she smiled.
‘Can you smell it? The scent of new books. Unread adventures. Friends you haven’t met yet. hours of magical escapism awaiting you.’

(I was there smelling those books with her with the anticipation of adventures to come for me, know what I mean?)

Make no mistake this is not just a ‘nice’ book to read, there is a real mix of individual stories encompassing gender, sex, separation, racial harmony, vulnerability and more.

And of course there has to be a love story and although reasonably predictable it is not really the main focus, but is a delightful thread throughout. The soul of the town itself is the focus which is of course its people, and most people have an interesting story to tell… Knowing Sara’s tourist visa is about to run out the town sets about finding a way of keeping her there.

I have to say I stayed up till the early hours finishing the book because I was enjoying it so much.

A definite recommended read.
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Many thanks to the Publisher via NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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