Book Review Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend

Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Sara has never left Sweden but at the age of 28 she decides it’s time. She cashes in her savings, packs a suitcase full of books and sets off for Broken Wheel, Iowa, a town where she knows nobody.

Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.

With a little help from the locals, Sara sets up Broken Wheel’s first bookstore. The shop might be a little quirky but then again, so is Sara. And as Broken Wheel’s story begins to take shape, there are some surprises in store for Sara too.


We enjoyed reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and the majority have either read the book twice or intend to read it again. Two people felt reading the book once was enough. The importance of relationships and the power of books to transform lives are explored in depth. Some friendships seem unlikely but lead to powerful and meaningful relationships that transform their lives and those around them. The small, dying community of Broken Wheel in Iowa is actually quite vibrant and embraces change and reveals depth to their commitment to each other that is inspiring. Some characters lack credibility; the affair between God-fearing Caroline and bi-sexual Josh. Amy dominates the book and our readers really looked forward to reading Amy’s letters. Amy reveals the power of the absent character, and she gives background information and shares wisdom.

“I’ve seen people completely caught up in their problems; they practically creep in beneath their skin and eat them up from within.” (p69)

Literature dominates; some characters avoid books whereas reading is Sara’s obsession.  She does not want to be a minor character. A balance is important; reading opens doors, but obsession hinders relationship opportunities. Balance is achieved in the novel, and everyone is enriched. Opening the bookshop revitalises the town and stirs the people to act as a community. Sara can suggest the right book for everyone.

We enjoyed the humour sprinkled throughout the book; Dewey, the library cat; are dreams subject to inflation and discussing the book triggered discussion about many things including how people change, apartheid, cancel culture and Stalin’s wine cellar.

Read by MJ Readers