Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

I read this book because of the title. Yes, yes. I'm a cover-judger and a sucker for a good book book. Anyway.
Here's the modified Goodreads Summary (I edited it and changed the formatting): 

"The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams. Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . 

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped. Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It's everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.
As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?"

What Say I:
There's not much I can add to the description above; to try to add too much will probably give away the good ending. This book is about a woman who is trying to figure out what parts of her life are in need of an overhaul. Is she happy being a single old maid? Has she given up on love? What are her dreams about falling in love and living with the man of her dreams trying to tell her. What is her brain actually trying to help her cope with? I've read comparisons (after starting the book, of course) between Sliding Doors, which is one of my favorite movies. This comparison is really due to the fact that we see two different ways the world could be going for Katharyn, hinged on a single event. 

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was well written and well read via audiobook. It is easy to relate to both Kitty and Katharyn. I think it would be an excellent Book Club choice, offering the opportunity to talk about your own "single events" and domino effect situations. There's also the conversation fodder around the role of gender and the balance between friends, family, and career. In neither of her two worlds does Kathryn "have it all" and her best friend Frieda tells her it's not even possible. By the end, the reader is just as invested in one world as the other and really hopes that there is some way to resolve the tragedies in both. 

Helen, over at My Novel Opinion has already posted about all the books that are mentioned in The Bookseller. Go check that out!

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