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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Cover of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

"A heartwarming tale about literature's power to transform." — People
"Charmingly original...sweet, quirky." — Washington Post

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor—there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn't open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You'd need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy's house is full of them), and...customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel's own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

"A heartwarming tale about literature's power to transform." — People
"Charmingly original...sweet, quirky." — Washington Post

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor—there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn't open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You'd need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy's house is full of them), and...customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel's own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

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  • From the book

    Books 1?Life 0

    The strange woman standing on Hope's main street was so ordinary it was almost scandalous. A thin, plain figure dressed in an autumn coat much too gray and warm for the time of year, a backpack lying on the ground by her feet, an enormous suitcase resting against one of her legs. Those who happened to witness her arrival couldn't help feeling it was inconsiderate for someone to care so little about their appearance. It seemed as though this woman was not the slightest bit interested in making a good impression on them.

    Her hair was a nondescript shade of brown, held back with a carelessly placed hair clip that didn't stop it from flowing down over her shoulders in a tangle of curls. Where her face should have been, there was a copy of Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl.

    She didn't seem to care at all that she was in Hope. It was as if she had just landed there, with book and luggage and uncombed hair, and might just as well have been in any other town in the world. She was standing on one of the most beautiful streets in Cedar County, maybe even the prettiest in east central Iowa, but the only thing she had eyes for was her book.

    But then again, she couldn't be entirely uninterested. Every now and again a pair of big gray eyes peeped up over the edge of the book, like a prairie dog sticking its head up to check whether the coast was clear. She would lower the book further and look sharply to the left, then swing her gaze as far to the right as she could without moving her head. Then she would raise the book and sink back into the story again.

    In actual fact, Sara had taken in almost every detail of the street. She would have been able to describe how the last of the afternoon sun was gleaming on the polished SUVs, how even the treetops seemed neat and well organized, and how the hair salon 150 feet away had a sign made from laminated plastic in patriotic red, white, and blue stripes. The scent of freshly baked apple pie filled the air. It was coming from the café behind her, where a couple of middle-aged women were sitting outside and watching her with clear distaste. That was how it looked to Sara, at least. Every time she glanced up from her book, they frowned and shook their heads slightly, as though she was breaking some unwritten rule of etiquette by reading on the street.

    She took out her phone and redialed. It rang nine times before she hung up.

    So Amy Harris was a bit late. Surely there would be a perfectly reasonable explanation. A flat tire maybe. Out of gas. It was easy to be-she checked her phone again-two hours and thirty-seven minutes late.

    She wasn't worried, not yet. Amy Harris wrote proper letters, on real, old-fashioned writing paper, thick and creamy. There wasn't a chance in the world that someone who wrote on proper, cream-colored writing paper would abandon a friend in a strange town or turn out to be a psychopathic serial killer with sadomasochistic tendencies, regardless of what Sara's mother said.

    "Excuse me, honey."

    A woman had stopped beside her. She gave Sara an artificially patient look.

    "Can I help you with anything?" the woman asked. A brown paper bag full of food was resting on her hip, a can of Campbell's tomato soup teetering perilously close to the edge.

    "No, thank you," said Sara. "I'm waiting for someone."

    "Sure." The woman's tone was amused and indulgent. The women sitting outside the café were following the whole conversation with interest. "First time in Hope?"

    "I'm on my way to Broken Wheel."

    Maybe it was just Sara's imagination, but the woman didn't seem at all satisfied with that answer.

    The can of...

About the Author-
  • Katarina Bivald lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden. This is her first novel. She grew up working part-time in a bookshop.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 11, 2016
    Swedish author Bivald's debut novel is a delight. Erstwhile bookseller Sara Lindqvist has traveled from her home in Sweden to the tiny town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, in order to spend time relaxing and reading with her pen pal, Amy Harris, but what she finds upon arriving is that she's just in time for Amy's funeral. Sara is bewildered but the townsfolk insist that she stay in Amy's house and generally refuse to let her pay for anything. She decides to give back by opening Amy's old store and sharing Amy's books with the community. Bivald fills the pages with book references, chief among them Austen and Bridget Jones, but it is her characters that will win readers over. Sara is unassuming and, as an outsider, provides a wonderful view of the Iowans. Amy's nephew, Tom Harris, Poor George, Caroline Rohde, and the rest all bear their own hurts and each is, in some way, healed by Sara's presence and her books. As in Austen, love conquers but just who and how will come as a pleasant surprise.

  • Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post "Charmingly original....sweet, quirky."
  • Library Journal, starred review "[A] heartwarming and utterly charming debut by Swedish author Bivald. This gentle, intelligent Midwestern tale will captivate fans of Antoine Laurain's The Red Notebook, Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop, and Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. An ideal book group selection, it reminds us why we are book lovers and why it's nice to read a few happy endings."
  • Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop "A manifesto for booksellers, booklovers, and friendship. We should all celebrate these little bookstores, where our souls find home... one of these books you want to live in for a while."
  • Nickolas Butler, internationally bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs and Beneath the Bonfire "The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is one of the more surprisingly improbable and delightful books I've read in years.  What begins as an unlikely international friendship based on a mutual love of books becomes a sweet and soulful discovery of America.  Quirky, unpredictable, funny, and fresh ? a wonderful book."
  • Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author of Starlight on Willow Lake "This classic fish-out-of-water story will steal your heart. It's smart, sweet, absorbing and endearing, just like the town of Broken Wheel. It's a story for everyone who believes in the magic of books to enlighten, heal and restore. A treat for readers everywhere!"
  • RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK "This charming, book-loving story captures readers' hearts from the very first page.... This is a must-read for book lovers who enjoy a witty, feel-good story that goes beyond the surface."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Between the book references and the idyllic setting, readers won't want to leave Broken Wheel, either."
  • Publishers Weekly "Swedish author Bivald's debut novel is a delight. Bivald fills the pages with book references, chief among them Austen and Bridget Jones, but it is her characters that will win readers over... As in Austen, love conquers but just who and how will come as a pleasant surprise.
    "
  • New York Journal of Books "a warm and slyly funny look at small towns and romance..."
  • Woman's Day "Warm-hearted novel "
  • Iowa Public Radio's Talk of Iowa (NPR) "This is a very happy book, very feel goof and you will be smiling when you're done."
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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Katarina Bivald
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