My, my. Has it really been two years since my last review? Must be all that life stuff that got in the way. Well, lucky readers, I'm back. And I'm reviewing The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald.
Set in the present time in Broken Wheel, Iowa, the book is a study in small town middle-American desolation brought on by the Walmarts of the world and the declining farming industry. Sara Lundqvist is invited to visit Broken Arrow from Sweden by her elderly book and pen pal, Amy Harris. Anxious to leave a somewhat desolate life of her own, Sara takes Amy up on her offer to come stay with her. Upon arriving, Sara is surprised to find that her hostess is, shall we say, absent. The townspeople, anxious to return to a time when Broken Arrow was a vibrant farming and mercantile community, with a larger population, take Sara under their wing with the goal of having her stay there permanently. Unaware of their endgame, Sara feels the need to repay the townspeople's kindness by opening a small bookstore on the main street, using Amy's library as a base for her inventory. Several funny plots ensue to lure customers to the store and to the town in order to induce Sara to stay, but with time running out on her visa, the wackiest scheme of all to keep Sara in America turns out to be not so wacky after all.
Filled with colorful characters and their stories, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend pulls you in and keeps you there. Ms. Bivald uses the major issues of today as well as literary references from the past to make the point that we are not all that different from each other, and a community that cares is the best antidote to whatever ails society today.
Highly highly recommend.