The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

The BooksellerThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Shereads.org summer pick. To find out more about all the amazing things she reads does, please take a moment to visit. Shereads


The Bookseller

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, 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.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

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?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

The idea behind this story is a fantastic one, but in some places I wasn’t so certain of the execution. Whilst Kitty/Katharyne were both interesting facets of the same base personality, I found that I liked one of them but not the other.

Kitty was the kind of character that it is easy to support and was open to the audience to get to know better and to share in frustrations with. Katharyne was the exact opposite. She was reserved, closed-off even. We spend much of the novel thinking one thing and begin to find out about two-thirds of the way through that all is not as it seems. This was an interesting twist and very rewarding for me as a reader, but it also made me question what I knew of the character previously, leaving me feeling as if I were on shaky ground.

I liked the way the author incorporated the famous books of days gone by in this story, and honestly I had expected it to be a bit more about her life as a bookseller but it didn’t turn out that way.

The relationships in this book are unusual in that they aren’t clearly defined from the beginning. Whilst one side of the main character’s life allows her to grow and make some very important discoveries, the other side falters and leaves her seeming less complete.

This was certainly an outside the box kind of book that will make you think. Overall, I’m still not a hundred percent sure what to think, but I can say, I believe it is worthy of a read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through the Shereads.org blog network. All opinions are my own.

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