The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Iowa, Sweden – Katarina Bivald

readers of broekn wheel

Why a booktrail?

If you love books and books about books then this is the book for you! Broken Wheel USA awaits….There is even a chapter on book smelling…yes really….

Story in a nutshell

From Sweden to small town America, this is the story of Sara who travels to Broken Wheel USA in order to meet her pen pal Amy. Amy is old and they have written to each other for years mostly about books and reading – she used to work in a bookstore but she lost her job there and has written about her passion ever since..

As Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, she discovers that Amy has sadly died before the two could meet. But the townspeople take this bookworm under their wing and before long, she is the protagonist of a very unusual and quirky story of her own.

But Sara has read enough books to know that real life and fiction are two separate things. But are they?

Place and setting

Clarence Main street The one street town which inspired Broken Wheel and where Grace’s Diner is located amongst other things Clarence Park The park  - perfect place to read a book! Fourth Avenue Fourth street i Broken Wheel changed its name to Jimmy Coogan street in 1987 but normally the streets are plain since the people there “don’t have any predilection for flourishes or big words” Tipton the seat of Cedar County
Clarence Main street
The one street town which inspired Broken Wheel and where Grace’s Diner is located amongst other things
Clarence Park
The park – perfect place to read a book!
Fourth Avenue
Fourth street i Broken Wheel changed its name to Jimmy Coogan street in 1987 but normally the streets are plain since the people there “don’t have any predilection for flourishes or big words”
Tipton
the seat of Cedar County

If only there were a real place called Broken Wheel, there would be plenty of literary slogans to have on their welcome sign

It is a truth universally acknowledge that a Swedish tourist in Iowa must be in want of a man

A chapter heading but a valid message as well. Sara is not so sure of course and her story on the border of fact and fiction starts off – aptly in the town they call Hope –

It was as if she had just landed there, book and luggage and uncombed hair in tow…”

When Amy doesn’t turn up, she is offered a lift, ‘ You must be the tourist’ and can’t believe Amy could be dead – she loved books for goodness sake.

Broken Wheel Iowa is the place which welcomes her, she’s learnt about it via books and letters.  When talking of the kind of people that might live in Broken Wheel, May writes “A Lisbeth Salander? That we definately do not have.” They discover each others lives and countries via books –

Speaking of small towns, murder and sex, I’m sending you Harper Lees to Kill a Mocking Bird as the first installment

Feeling lost when Amy is gone, she starts up a bookstore. Sara doesn’t have a visa so this is just a hobby but through it she introduces the towns people new books and discovering new places and emotions through reading. There is a kind of book challenge on with neighbouring Hope and the books recommended to the more straight laced characters in the story are quite the eye opener!

“For as long as she could remember, she had thought that autumn air went well with books, that the two somehow belonged with blankets, comfortable armchairs and big cups of coffee or tea.”

The locals help her to stay by planning her a wedding but its the love affair she has with books and Broken Wheel that is the biggest page turner.

The author has used Clarence Cedar County Iowa as her inspiration for the town of Broken Wheel amongst the corn in southwestern Iowa.

Bookish musings

Have your books travelled further than you have? I was quite pleased to read this quote since I have sent many via the post over the years, bought some in one country and flown them home with me, sent them on to my new house, even left one or two on a booktrail. Good stories always travel and this one is no exception.

Writing letters recommending books, book club across the miles, travelling to see your bookish friend…yes all very familiar and very realistic!

It was charming all the way through and there is mention of many books that you will want to read although if you have read Jane Eyre, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a Jane Austen novel or the Bridget Jones novels, then you’’ get an extra special thrill.

a happy feel good book with smatterings of sadness and poignant moments to enjoy and think about

Read in the original Swedish at first- Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar – but the English is a fine translation and captures the essence of the book very well indeed!

I want to live in Broken Wheel now and work in Oak Tree bookstore. Can I please Katarina? Please?

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