Sara, a Swedish girl, arrives in Iowa expecting to be met by her friend Amy. They have been writing to each other about their first love, books. Sara is excited to meet her friend and continue their discussions in person, but Amy doesn't show up. Sara gets a ride to Broken Wheel, the town where Amy lives, only to discover that she has died.
The town has a dilemma. Sara is there but she has no host. Being the kind of town it is, they decide to become a collective host. Providing free food and transportation is nice, but Sara feels uncomfortable taking advantage. Her inspiration is to start a bookshop using Amy's books.
The townspeople rally to help her and one especially draws her attention. Tom, Amy's nephew, professes no interest in her and she him, but things could change.
The town of Broken Wheel is unusual. It is practically a ghost town, but the few remaining residents help each other survive. The town is filled quirky characters from George, an alcoholic, who becomes Sara's chauffeur to Carolyn who feels obliged to keep the town running smoothly. I thought the author did a good job creating a variety of characters, but not letting any of the minor characters take over Sara's story.
Books fill the story. Amy's letters are fully of recommendations of what to read. This can be a bit heavy handed at times, but the book discussions serve to enrich Sara's character. She loves the books so much you're tempted to try her suggestions if you haven't already read the books.
If you like old fashioned boy meets girl romance with no sexual antics, you'll enjoy this book. The romance, however, is almost a subplot. The real story is how the town of Broken Wheel survives and takes care of it's own.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.