The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Sara Lindqvist is doing something daring! Finding herself unemployed after the bookshop she worked in closes she decides to take her pen pal Amy up on her offer to visit for a few months. Sara has never done anything so adventurous. Yes, Amy is an elderly woman living in the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, but still it’s America! A real vacation, a real adventure, her first time away from Sweden!
Sara is a little concerned when Amy doesn’t show up at the nearby town of Hope to pick her up. When finally, after a couple of hours, one of the townsfolk Amy mentioned in her letters does arrive, Sara learns the horrible reason for Amy’s tardiness. Amy has passed away. Sara is at a loss and starts trying to figure out what she will do but the town insists that any guest of Amy’s is a guest of theirs and they insist she stay in Amy’s house and enjoy her time in Broken Wheel. But Sara is a bit bored. After seeing the empty storefronts on Main Street she has an idea: opening a bookshop and using the books Amy left behind as the inventory to start her endeavor. The locals are a little confused why they would need, or even want, books, but they are happy that their tourist is happy and pretty soon no one in Broken Wheel, not even Sara, can imagine Broken Wheel without her.
Any book lover will love this book. There are plenty of references to classic and popular literature and I’m sure everyone will recognize at least one. The locals are set in their ways, as is Sara and it’s a joy to watch all these characters step out of their comfort zones and rally around a foreign entity: meaning both Sara and the books. There are some serious subjects addressed in the pages, but like many novels about small towns, it is told lightheartedly and with humor. By the time you finish you’ll want to take a vacation in Broken Wheel yourself.
Fun on audio – Lorelei King reads Amy’s letters to Sara and I had a hard time picturing an elderly woman since she voices the Stephanie Plum book! Fiona Hardingham does a wonderful job with the lion’s share of the narration and gets the local accents as well as Sara’s Swedish one spot on.