The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

When 28-year-old Swede Sara Lindqvist loses her job in her hometown bookshop, she travels to Broken Wheel, Iowa, finally to meet and visit with her book-loving pen pal, Amy Harris. Upon her arrival, Sara is heartbroken to learn that the 65-year-old bibliophile has recently died. Encouraged to stay on by the good-natured residents of the struggling rural town (population 637), Sara moves into Amy's now vacant house.

Sara and Amy shared a belief that books are better than real life. But once Sara settles amid the charms, rhythms and personalities of Broken Wheel, she begins to wonder if the stories of those who live in this small town might be as compelling as books.

A colorful cast of characters offers Sarah friendship and kindness, including the owners of the local diner and bar, a reformed alcoholic mired in grief, a buttoned-up churchgoer living a double life, the standoffish owner of the hardware store, quirky members of the town council and a dreamy-looking, longtime resident, who is set in his ways but may hold romantic feelings for the Swedish newcomer.

When Sara decides to honor the memory of Amy by setting up a makeshift bookshop, featuring all the books she and Amy loved--treasures from Little House on the Prairie to Bridget Jones's Diary--she draws townsfolk to the neighborhood hub. Might Sara's quest bring Broken Wheel back to life? Katarina Bivald's feel-good first novel explores how books and reading have the power to reinvigorate stagnant lives and communities. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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