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Review: The Bookseller

The Bookseller
The Bookseller
By Cynthia Swanson
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780062333001, March 2015, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

Blurred lines between what’s real and what’s not keep you guessing in this story about a woman’s longing for a perfect life.

The Rest of It:

In 1962, Kitty Miller is a single woman who runs a bookstore with her best friend, Frieda. Although being a bookseller is very rewarding, the business is struggling with its current location, away from the excitement of the city. Additionally, her single status makes for a lonely life. With no romantic prospects in sight, Kitty seems to accept her future as an old maid and for the most part, is okay with it.

However, when she falls asleep at night, she visits an alternate world as Katharyn Andersson, who happens to be happily married with children of her own. Her husband Lars is the doting husband of her dreams and although she is fiercely proud of her children, she worries constantly about her one autistic son. In this world, she seems to be living the life that she’s always wanted. But as soon as she wakes, she is returned to the life she lives at Kitty.

Remember that movie Sliding Doors? In it, the character in essence, lives two different lives but at the same time. This is slightly different because the world that Kitty visits is just a bit into the future, 1963 to be exact. Although the device used to carry Kitty into her alternate world is pretty seamless, sleep, I grew tired of it halfway through, knowing that all she had to do to return was simply wake up. However, the author tosses in a nice little twist to keep things interesting so although the story was mostly predictable, not all of it was.

That said, what I felt was missing, was the tug of both worlds. In the movie Big, Tom Hanks finds it hard to return to his life as a boy because he’s found love in his adult life. I WEPT for him. I really did. Here, I was mildly sad for the character but that’s it. I think the author had all the right ideas, but I needed more emotion to tie it all together. I needed to see more conflict within the character herself and in that sense, she was a little thin.

Also, I bet a lot of readers will pick this one up based on the title and cover alone but very little of it has to do with book selling so keep that in mind if you decide to pick it up.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
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