Rating: 3 stars
Rating: 3 stars
Helen Thinks: Sara has never left her home country of Sweden so when her elderly penpal, Amy, from Broken Wheel, Iowa, offers her the chance to stay at her house for two months she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately for Sara, Amy’s funeral is just coming to a close when she arrives. However, the residents of Broken Wheel were all under instructions from Amy to ensure that Sara remained there and felt welcomed. Broken Wheel is a small dying community in the middle of nowhere so they are stunned that Sara wishes to remain there, as well confused to her love for the written word. In return for their generosity and for something to do, Sara opens a bookstore with Amy’s books for the people of Broken Wheel and the residents become fond of Sara.
I’m not going to lie to you but the beginning of this book was slow going. Sara, for me, started off as a particularly dull character that had no dimensions whatsoever. Her inner thoughts were rambles about published books that you may or may not have read. I understand being a book lover - I’m a massive book lover - but it was focused on a little too much for my liking. However, Sara did begin to grow on me as she started to interact with the residents of Broken Wheel and we started to see snapshots of their lives. From Andy and his good friend Carl that owned the bar, Grace that owned the local diner and Caroline that was always there to help out and organised everything. There was a handful of supporting characters and they were all individual enough that you could see who Bivald was talking about.
I felt like a great touch was that each alternate chapter was a letter from Amy to Sara so that despite Amy’s death in the novel we still managed to meet Amy as well as get a look at the friendship that had formed between the two women. In their letters they spoke of books and of what books meant to them as well as us seeing what Amy’s relationships were with the residents of Broken Wheel.
Despite me saying earlier that this book was slow starting, I managed to read it in one afternoon once I tackled the first thirty or forrty pages that made it a struggle. I was in love with the characters of Broken Wheel so all I can say is that Helen from A Drop of Romeo highly recommends that you give this book a chance.