If there is a genre of literature called librarian chick-lit, ” The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” neatly fits into that category. Written by Swedish author Katarina Bivald, this novel is set in the economically depressed town of Broken Wheel, Iowa.
Sara Lindqvist is a young Swedish woman, who for more than two years writes to Amy Harris, an older woman who lives in Broken Wheel. Their pen pal relationship is based on their mutual love of books. At first, the letters were about books that each writer enjoyed. As the letters continued, we only read Amy’s letters to Sara, we learn more and more about Amy’s life and the town of Broken Wheel. Eventually, Amy invites Sara to visit. Since Sara has lost her job in a book store, she decides to take Amy up on her invitation.
When Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, she learns that Amy has died. Everyone in the small town knew about their correspondence, so Sara is not exactly a stranger. She is told that she can stay in Amy’s house for as long as she likes. Not knowing what do do, but not having a job to go back to, Sara agrees to stay.
Eventually, Sara opens a book store in town stocking the shelves with all of Amy’s books. The inhabitants of Broke Wheel are not readers, so Amy uses all her enthusiasm and love of books to try to match up books to the people of the town Although the store is not a huge success, Amy does become an well liked member of the community.
The chick-lit part of the novel deals with the fact that Amy’s visa is due to run out. The only way, of course, for her to stay is to marry a local. There is an obvious candidate, Tom, Amy’s nephew.
The fun parts of the story for any reader are the references to books and how Sara tries to match up books to the locals. The love interest aspect of the story is contrived, but since Bivald has created likable, quirky characters, “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” is, in the end, a heartwarming, fun story.