Finally, something other than rape, murder, and mayhem to come out of Sweden! This translation is absolutely delightful, bringing to mind favorites suFinally, something other than rape, murder, and mayhem to come out of Sweden! This translation is absolutely delightful, bringing to mind favorites such as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer and 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. The story is sweet without being saccharine, the writing is breezy and easy to devour, and overall the story is a book lover's dream as it is chock full of literary references and life-as-related-to-books observations.
The basic premise is that Sara, from Sweden, began corresponding with Amy, from Broken Wheel, Iowa, when Sara bought a book from Amy online. They've been writing letters back and forth for a while when Amy invites Sara to visit her. As the bookstore where Sara works is getting ready to permanently close, she decides to go to Broken Wheel on a two-month tourist visa to meet her friend in person for the first time ever. Alas, she arrives too late. Sara enters Broken Wheel just as Sara's funeral is ending.
The residents of Broken Wheel - a dying farm community a few short miles down the road from a larger, more successful city, Hope, Iowa - do their best to make Sara welcome. They put her up in Amy's house, they feed her burgers from Amazing Grace (the one diner in town), and they assign newly-sober George to be her chauffeur when it becomes clear that Sara does not have a license. But Sara came to Broken Wheel to meet Amy, and isn't sure what to do with herself without Amy there to anchor her. As usual, Sara finds comfort in books, and they spark an idea as Sara grows to know the town and its inhabitants: Sara will open a bookstore on Broken Wheel's mostly-empty Main Street strip. Not that Sara has a work visa; she'll just be minding Amy's storefront, using Amy's books, in Amy's town.
As you might expect, the good people of Broken Wheel are both supportive and suspicious of their new resident. Sara's arrival is a catalyst for many individuals and the town itself, and soon her quiet yet infectious energy spreads far and wide. As the circle of influence grows, the more inter-connected the stories of the residents become, so that by the end, people as far away as Hope and beyond are brought to Broken Wheel while the residents band together to hold on to their dreams - and the one person responsible for influencing them. After all, Sara's tourist visa is only good for a couple of months. If only there was a way to get her to stay...like, say, a marriage, perhaps?
Reading this book was like talking with an old friend. The pace was measured, unhurried; the topics were life and love and loss and finding yourself; the books and authors and characters mentioned were familiar and comforting. Any and all book lovers should do themselves a favor by picking up this charming book....more
Only romance novel I've ever read that talks about depression. Even more remarkable that it talks about depression happening to the main male characteOnly romance novel I've ever read that talks about depression. Even more remarkable that it talks about depression happening to the main male character. And lastly, his depression isn't "solved" by the love of a good woman, but instead she has to learn how to support him through it. Also, great sexual chemistry....more
Better than the first book in the trilogy, though the main character was still pretty silly. Good heat between the main characters and the sibling subBetter than the first book in the trilogy, though the main character was still pretty silly. Good heat between the main characters and the sibling subplots were a nice touch....more
An impressive trio of authors/illustrators creates an adorable, princess action hero? Shocker! Just kidding, this series is off to a great start! LeUyenAn impressive trio of authors/illustrators creates an adorable, princess action hero? Shocker! Just kidding, this series is off to a great start! LeUyen Pham's artwork is bright and engaging. Not too much detail where it's not needed, but shows the intricacies of the princess's outfits to perfection. Whether the child enjoying the book is into the pink or not into the hero or both, there's plenty of action in the illustrations to keep their attention. Shannon and Dean Hale are literary masters, in that they can tell an engaging story you probably (as a parent or adult with a child to read to) won't mind reading over and over again. There's enough action in the plot to keep the book interesting (A princess with a secret! Who will discover it? The nosy Duchess? The observant Goat Boy?) while also setting up some future escapades in the books to follow....more