This is a delightful gem of a book, perfect for a cold winter’s day. It’s a hopeful, sweet read that keeps faith in the power of love and the power of books. Sara Lindqvist comes from Sweden to the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, to spend two months with her pen pal, Amy Harris. However, when Sara arrives, she’s met with the surprising news that Amy has died. The townspeople, feeling sorry for her and guilty that their only tourist has been abandoned on their doorstep, take her under their wing and insist that she stay in Amy’s house for the remainder of her stay. Though a little perplexed by the arrangement, Sara stays, and finds herself transformed by Broken Wheel just as she makes her own impact on the town.
Populated with fun, quirky characters and bits of wisdom, The Readers of Broken Wheel manages to be heartwarming but not clichéd. It’s truly an ode to books: they are the link between Sara and Amy, and become the rallying point for the dying town. Mentions of novels and authors, from Proust to Bridget Jones’ Diary, suffuse the story. And although the translation from the original Swedish feels a little awkward at times, Bivald’s writing is witty and conversational. There’s even some romance to sweeten the tale.
I really enjoyed this charming story. I’ll be recommending it to readers of gentle fiction and romance.