Never judge a book by its cover… I have to admit that the cover was the first element to catch my eye. A cozy, yellow cover illustrating a girl seated comfortably with a book in hand and a cup filled with a steaming beverage by her side, so appealing to me that I bought it. After an eventful summer, I was looking forward to settling down with a good book, a fluffy throw and a mug of coffee. I was eager to start reading and found that this time around I could actually judge a book by its cover. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a warm, candid read about a young woman from Sweden, named Sara, on her way to visit an American friend she only knows through exchanging letters. Katarina Bivald, the author, actually revealed to me that she’d never been to Iowa, but I found her depictions well painted and wonderfully believable. “The only thing I knew about Iowa when I began was that they once had a library cat named Dewey Readmore Books.” She tweeted to me a few weeks ago.
Sara’s arrival in Broken Wheel is far from what she might have expected; her pen pal has passed away. With a rather quiet and withdrawn personality, Sara’s only refuge are her books and now she must face a handful of peculiar residents; Caroline Rohde, a rigid spinster nearly running the town; George, a heartbroken alcoholic in recovery; Jen, an overactive housewife trying desperately to portray perfection; Grace, a cynic believing she’s an outcast, although couldn’t be a better fit for the town; and then there’s Tom, a hardworking, uncompromising, young man. Sara denies the strong feelings she has for him with all her might, but soon realizes she has fallen head over heels for the one person who seemingly can’t tolerate her existence.
In this prim and neglected town, Sara discovers that the townspeople are surviving mainly on a bartering system among themselves. She tries to fit in by offering help to the few businesses left in Broken Wheel. Oddly enough, most refuse, but Sara doesn’t back down that easily, and her mind is suddenly set on opening a bookstore as a way of sharing her deceased friend’s heritage with the town. Slowly but surely, the little bookshop begins to magically transform the dying village into a lively community, while showing Sara that life can be just as good as the “happily ever afters” she’s read about, but never experienced. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a mellow tale about belief, the goodness of human nature and the rewards of never giving up, even in the toughest of times.