By Katrina Bivald

5 Stars

From the Publisher: This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.

It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair.

My Review: I really, really enjoyed this book. I guess it could be called chick-lit, drama and there is even humour in it. Sarah lives in Sweden. Not sure how it happened, but she began a penpal relationship with Amy, a senior citizen in Broken Wheel Iowa. Broken Wheel is almost a ghost town with a few die-hard residents and businesses that do not really make any money. Everyone has moved to Hope, a half hour away. When Amy invites Sarah to visit, she agrees and heads off to America. When she arrives, Amy is dead, but the townspeople want her to stay. They also want her to stay in Amy’s house, because that is what Amy would have wanted. The townspeople will not let her pay for anything, groceries, coffee, meals, beer etc. They are also trying to fix her up with Tom, Amy’s nephew. When Sarah stumbles upon Amy’s library, she comes up with the idea that she will pay the townspeople back by opening a bookstore. That is when things start to happen. The town starts to come alive and the people start to have fun again. Tom, Andy, Carl, Josh, Caroline, Jen, George, John and others round out the cast in this story and they are delightful. A little romance, a little law breading, a lot of friendship and reading, add to this story. By the time I finished this book, I thought of these people as my friends and was rooting for them to have happy endings. This is a wonderful story about people, books and reading and a town that was brought back to life.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.