In this sleepy charmer, a Swedish bookseller finds friendship, love, and more books in the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa.
Sara Lindqvist has barely left the airport when she learns from the local townspeople that her longtime American pen pal, Amy Harris, has died. Too disappointed to catch a return flight home, Sara reluctantly stays at Amy’s house, which the deceased woman’s neighbors have already cleaned and stocked with food for Sara’s arrival. Though its population is dwindling, Broken Wheel is endearingly quaint. The residents barter for what they need, and much of Sara’s time is spent trying to overcome the oppressive niceness of nosy neighbors who won’t even let her pay for her own drinks at the town’s only bar, much less pay rent on Amy’s house. Sara didn’t have much going on in her life prior to landing in the middle of nowhere, so she's blissfully unaware that her thirst for adventure has led her to an adventure desert. But the sweetness that ensues makes up for the plot’s ambling pace. Desperate for something to do, Sara uses Amy’s book collection—a hodgepodge of classic literature, chick lit, and even erotica—to turn an abandoned hardware store into a neighborhood bookstore. Her thank-you gift to the townspeople quickly becomes a tourist attraction, turning Broken Wheel into a hotbed of romance and progressive ideas. As Sara learns her neighbors’ secrets through Amy’s books, Amy lives on in old letters that fill in the missing details. Sara's time in Iowa is limited, but her new friends suspect that if she and her neighbor Tom can admit their feelings for each other, she might be there for good.
Between the book references and the idyllic setting, readers won’t want to leave Broken Wheel, either.