Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I can’t help thinking that this book would make one of those perfect ‘feel-good’ movies, similar to ‘Steel Magnolias,’ ‘Erin Brokovich’ or ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ (which is referred to numerous times in this book). It’s full of the typical characters and politics who you’d expect to find in any small town.
Sara has travelled from Sweden to meet her pen-pal Amy. To date, Sara’s life has been uneventful and to be honest, pretty boring. She’s one of those non-descript people who seem to fade into the woodwork. Nobody pays much attention to her; not even her family. She lives her life for and through her books. But now that her job at a bookshop has unexpectedly come to an end (with the closure of the bookstore she worked in), Sara doesn’t have much to look forward to, hence her decision to visit Amy in the small-town back-water of Broken Wheel. But when she arrives, it’s to discover that Amy has recently passed away and she’s in time to attend the funeral!
What follows is an endearing, bumbling story of misunderstandings and mix-ups as Sara tries to fit in to what she finds to be a soothing haven in Broken Wheel. The town residents all feel somewhat responsible for her now that Amy is no longer around to take her in, as originally planned, but they’re not quite sure what to make of this foreigner, who is indeed, extremely foreign to them and their way of life. And, as is often the way in small towns (and in stories like this), in finding a way to make their visitor feel comfortable at home, each of them in their own way, also manages to find a way to feel more comfortable with themselves and their place in the world and the way others see them.
This is a book about books, and how the love of books can provide you with the most wonderful means of communication. It’s about a small town and how proud its people are of it – proud enough to stand up for it when it comes to the bullying ways of the (only slightly larger) neighbouring town. Ultimately of course, it’s about people and how they become so set in their ways that they forget to really look at each other and at themselves, and how it sometimes takes a complete stranger to remind them to open their eyes.