Wednesday 22 August 2018

Book Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Last Updated: 19 July 2021

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald book cover

AD* | Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who travelled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist - even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honour of her friend's memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

A story about books and about a woman who loves them (almost) as much as I do... could there be a more enticing premise to a novel?

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a charmingly engaging story about Sara, a Swedish 'tourist' visiting a tiny, no-hope town hidden deep in rural Iowa. It's a journey of discovery for both Sara and her newly-adopted town, Broken Wheel, not to mention the local residents. In fact, almost everyone in the book must overcome a set of obstacles and a personal barrier in order to make Broken Wheel into the once-prosperous town it once was. From love and confidence to dealing with loss, hopelessness and changing times, when you dig beneath the surface, you will discover all these issues and more.

As we follow Sara's journey, we begin to unravel more and more about the lives of Broken Wheel's residents. We learn about their lives, discover their motivation, inspiration, and the driving force behind their actions, yet for most, we find ourselves inexplicably drawn into their lives. Although they are initially introduced as little more than your stereotypical range of small-town inhabitants, Bivald ensures every character has a purpose and every purpose contributes to the overall story arc in some small way. This clever use of characters helps to guarantee a watertight story with a whole cast of brilliant supporting characters.

When it comes to Sara herself, it won't be long before you end up rooting for her to succeed. Sara is an unashamed bibliophile, yet even if you aren't interested in that aspect of her life, there is still plenty more to keep readers turning page after page - much like Sara herself.

Although the characters undoubtedly stole the show, the plot is what lets the book down. The ending is clear from a very early stage in the book but although it is entirely predictable, it still possesses a unique charm that almost helps me forgive the plot's lack of originality.

Overall, though, this book is a great read and it would certainly make the perfect accompaniment to a lazy weekend spot of relaxation.

Rating: 4 stars 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Have you read the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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