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The Bookseller

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  18,503 ratings  ·  2,678 reviews
The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Harper
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Cynthia I wouldn't say so. Without giving much away, I'd say you'll learn in this book that there's no such thing as a perfect life. There is not an underdog …moreI wouldn't say so. Without giving much away, I'd say you'll learn in this book that there's no such thing as a perfect life. There is not an underdog in one life and a hero in the other. Kitty/Katharyn faces challenges in both of her all of us do, no matter the hand we're dealt.(less)

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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,503 ratings  ·  2,678 reviews

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Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Not really sure what to make of this book. It left me scratching my head and digging for answers as to what I read.

I'm confident I understand the direction Swanson was going, for me, it failed in execution. Needless to say my reading journey was severely stunted.

Swanson undoubtedly stepped out of the box. She demonstrated her originality while clearly setting herself apart. I have mixed feelings regarding Kitty/Katharyn, she has good intentions yet she contradicts these intentions in many ways
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kitty Miller and Frieda Green own and run a bookstore in Denver, Colorado. It is the 1960s, and their idyllic world includes books and all things bookish.

But at night, Kitty lives in an alternate world created in her dreams: she is Katharyn Andersson, married to Lars, with triplets: Mitch, Missy, and Michael. And Michael is autistic.

When Kitty first begins visiting her dream world, her life is almost perfect. But as she spends more time there, she realizes the challenges of this world.

And then,

What's going on in publishing these days? Is the same designer responsible for all these covers?

 photo Booky books_zpsrszvokqt.jpg

If so, good job, designer. You won again.
These covers always pull me in because of course they do. Why wouldn't they?
None of these books have lived up to their covers, sadly.

Don't get me wrong. I liked this one. It's a solid story with good writing and an interesting premise.
Unfortunately, I got a little tired of it. Also, it made me feel sad but not in the way I like to feel sad. It made me feel
Kathy Cunningham
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Cynthia Swanson’s THE BOOKSELLER is ostensibly a story of two realities, one in which protagonist Kitty is a 38-year-old single woman who runs a failing bookstore with her life-long best friend and lives alone with her cat, and another in which Kitty (now called Katharyn) is married with three children, living the typical 1960’s suburban family life. Kitty-the-bookseller is convinced that her experiences as married Katharyn are dreams, a fantasy place she visits as she drifts off to sleep. As th ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I expected to love this story. It takes place in the sixties and follows an independent woman who owns a book shop. She begins living in a parallel world in her dreams at night. When awake, she's the bookshop owner with her best friend. She has a cat and loves her parents and is helping the neighbor boy learn to read.

When she's asleep she's the mother of triplets with this blue-eyed husband who takes her to cocktail parties.

There's a situation with one of the kids that I didn't know what to make
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I am sorry but Ms Swanson didn't get me in at all while this was well written endearing & the characters you felt for I just couldn't keep going as I didn't know where this was going, mind you this was her first novel , I have read her other novel and enjoyed it.
Kitty was one of the saddest characters I have ever read she dreams of a happy life husband children everyone wants that don't they? but when she wakes she is still living a mundane life running Thus Girls a bookstore with her best frie
Kitty Miller is single. She owns a business with her best friend, Frieda, and she is pretty contented with her independent life and her cat. Then she falls asleep one night and finds herself in an alternate reality in which she is Katharyn, a married woman with children, a loving husband, and a much more complicated but fuller life. Dreaming of this life once is like taking a trip, but Kitty dreams of this life over and over again and the line between reality and dreaming begins to blur.

I adore
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Denver 1962. Single gal, Kitty, runs a bookshop with her best friend, Frieda. Marriage and a family never became part of the plan, but Kitty has a good family and friend network and the faithful love of her cat, Aslan. Cynthia Swanson plays with the "What if?" question that often haunts us, as we get older. For Kitty it happens through her dreams. Into this alternate reality, Kitty is Kathryn, married to the blue eyed Swedish -American architect that answered her dating advertisement in 1954. Ka ...more
RoseMary Achey
Apr 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Primrose Jess
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it

This was a read I quickly became immersed in. The gentle cadence and details of the story absorbed my attention and I couldn't put the book down this morning as my coffee grew cold. One of the aspects of the unfolding of the story was in the beginning there is a clear delineation between reality and the fantasy world that the main character dreams herself into. As the story reveals more, the lines between reality and fantasy blur, both for Kitty Miller/Katharyn Andersson and the reader. Toward
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
This book is beautiful! B e a u t i f u l! Absolutely heart wrenching, heartbreaking, and heartwarming! The biggest question in this book is "What if?" It's bittersweet, surprising and talks about different subjects such as autism, grieve, ailment, love, friendship, books and family. It's also set in the sixties which is different and interesting.

I highlighted ALL the books mentioned here! I must read them all!
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting twist on the classic "what if" tale. One huge pet peeve: the crappy Spanish of Alma the housekeeper. Seriously, couldn't Harper get someone who actually knows Spanish to check that the author's Spanish was accurate? Btw, not only was it not accurate, it was actually ATROCIOUS.
Ashley Daviau
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book came right out of left field and knocked me right off my feet! It is just such a beautiful yet sad story and it left me profoundly moved by the end. It is such a gorgeous yet heartbreaking depiction of one woman’s struggle with grief and the lines between dreams and reality. The fact that books were involved is obviously a plus as well, I’m always a fan of any story that features books or bookworms, it makes me feel such a connection with the story. By the end of this book I was in tea ...more
I don't know about you... but I would love to own a bookshop and have these dreams..

The Bookseller was a pretty interesting book. I feel like I flew through the kindle version because it just kept reminding me of other little books. Sort of like Outlander, but not really. In this book, you will meet Katharyn and Lars. Whenever she goes to sleep, well she wakes up in this different world (sort of).

Maybe I should dive more into that? Same world but a different time zone is probably a bit easier t
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This Cynthia Swanson's first novel. The plot is set in Denver in the 1960s, Miss Kitty Miller(30) is single & dreams of a new life to be Mrs. Kathryn Anderson(30) married to a rich Man.

- Kitty is a unhappy school teacher, from parents for failing their children. Her best friend, Frieda Green's advertisement job has too much pressure. They open a simple Sisters' Bookstore & must consider moving from the city to the suburbs were businesses are growing. Kitty is lonely & calls a "personnel dating a
Jody McGrath
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Bittersweet. The book is about a woman named Kitty who lives another life in her dreams where she is Katharyn. It is one of those books where one decision could have lead to a different path. Or is it? This book had many layers, and presented some twists (which were blatantly obvious). It was well written and engaging, but at the same time predictable. It was a good read though.
Sarah Beth
I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins.

In 1962 Denver, Kitty Miller is content with her unconventional life as an unmarried woman who runs a bookshop with her best friend, Frieda. That is until she begins to dream about an alternate path her life may have taken - one in which she goes by Katharyn and is married to the love of her life and is a stay at home mother. Kitty begins to question the path her life has taken at the same time that the division between her t
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 bumped to 4 At the beginning of “The Bookseller”, I thought, “goodie, book candy! I’m in the mood”. And then….”Something wicked this way comes”.

The novel is told from the prospective of Kitty, aka, Katharyn. We learn that Kitty loves to dream and her imagination is impressive. As a big dreamer myself, I understood Kitty’s love of her dreamland. I’ve had more than a few occasions where I was abruptly woken and I think, “Wait, I want to finish my dream.” And, I’ve had the occasions where I abr
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Bookseller is a first-time novel for Cynthia Swanson. Katharyn/Kitty, the main character kept me engrossed in this novel from page one.

In the Bookseller, Swanson takes us on a startling journey where a woman is thrust into an alternate world that might have been, if she had made different decisions. The Bookseller is a wonderful exploration of identity, love and loss. The 1960's tone is elegant, slightly mysterious, and thoroughly engrossing.

The Bookseller's plot fascinated me, was well wri
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting concept. When Kitty Miller goes to sleep she is in a different life only a few months ahead of where she is now in her life. She is married with three kids. In her real life she is single running a bookstore with her best friend Frieda. Her dreams feel very real with her and she is finding out there are parts of her dreams she likes and parts of her awake life she likes. There are also parts that are disappointing in both lives. But are they really dreams. I really enjoyed th ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kitty wakes up and she's not in her bedroom. She is in an unfamiliar room, but the last thing she remembers is painting her bedroom with help from her best friend and co-owner of their bookstore. What has happened?

So begins Cynthia Swanson's compelling novel, The Bookseller. A handsome man comes into the unfamiliar room, claiming to be her husband, and reminding her that she has two young children who need her, one of whom is running a fever.

But Kitty is not married and does not have children, a
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
It's tough to say much about this book without giving away the entire plot. It's 1962 and Kitty is torn between two lives. One in which she's a conventional married mother of triplets, and the other where she's a single 38 year old woman who runs a small bookshop with her long time best friend Frieda. Presented in dreams and flashbacks the mystery is of course trying to figure out which parts are reality. The book references are fun, and what mother hasn't wondered what life would have been like ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I went back and forth two or three stars. The writing quality was excellent but the plot construction was poor with a big- losing the reader why am I even reading this middle. The end was neatly done with a good twist and I can see what the writer was trying to accomplish. A Character moping around is not a good plot device. A rewrite would have done wonders for this book.
Danielle Bauter
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've often wondered what my life would be like if a different path had been taken-- both literally and figuratively. Debut author Cynthia Swanson tackles this idea with her novel The Bookseller, in which a woman must reconcile the life she currently has with one that she could have had if things had been different. The alternate life begins to haunt her in her dreams, so much so that she starts to question her own reality. Set in the 1960s with countless cultural references (including books that ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
1.99 on 02/08/17

It was okay, I came close to calling it quits more than once. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was disappointing. My rating is more a 2.5. I often buy sale books, this one didn’t work for me. I could not connect with Kitty at all. Ready to move on!
Amber J
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.

I'm going to start by saying that I am a little disappointed. I picked this book because the blurb sounded interesting and it was a Goodreads Choice award nominee. All in all I liked the book, but it was a bit boring and repetitive and confusing. That twist at the e
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed reading this book. The premise was one that immediately intrigued me and I just knew I had to read it. From the moment I started the book I knew it was going to be one that would keep me up reading late in to the night. I felt as if I really got to know Kitty (Katharyn) and could really feel and understand her struggle between her real life and her imaginary life.

Once I reached about the middle of the book I found that I did not want to put it down! There were many questions I had a
Charlene Intriago
I purposely didn't read any reviews of this book while I was reading it. I didn't want anything to spoil my read!!

Kitty Miller and Frieda Green are best buds, have been that way since high school, and now they own a small bookstore "Sisters Bookshop" in Denver. But do they? Kitty keeps having recurring dreams. She's not Kitty - she's Katharyn and she's living a totally different life. She's married. She even has kids in these dreams. She loves the dreams but she loves coming back to her real lif
Judy D Collins
Cynthia Swanson’s debut, THE BOOKSELLER is a stunning, dreamlike, intriguing story of two worlds. One troubled woman in search of a different life. Caught between two mysterious worlds; confusing fact and fiction. This remarkable novel will transport you to another place. It is almost, spellbinding.

Katharyn (Kitty) operates Sisters, a Denver bookstore she owns with her best friend, Frieda. She is single, loves her apartment and her lifestyle. They have been friends for years and worked so har
Silvia Kay
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I bought the ebook for $2.99 and as such had very low expectations. It was a total impulse buy and honestly I wouldn't have cared too much if it had ended up disappointing me. I use Kindle sales to broaden my horizons and read books outside my comfort zone and/or by authors who are completely new to me. For some reason, I rarely end up giving them 5 stars. This time, though, I was rewarded with a book that far exceeded my wildest expectations.

Things I loved (in no particular order):

- the alter
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Cynthia Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller, which is slated to be a motion picture starring Julia Roberts. An Indie Next selection and the winner of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction, The Bookseller was also nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award and the MPIBA Reading the West Award. Cynthia's second novel, the USA Today bestseller The Glass Forest, rele ...more

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