The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson – Book Review

I found this to be an intriguing book from the get-go. The novel follows the life of Kitty Miller as she goes about her days as a spinster bookstore owner trying to reconcile her life as an unwed woman in 1962. Even though Kitty is worried about the future of her bookstore; tangling with co-owner and best friend Frieda regarding the best course to take, Kitty seems to be mostly happy with the life she’s living. This is when she begins to have dreams in which her name is Katharyn Andersson, she’s married to Lars and mother to triplets, one of whom has Autism.

As the book begins to unfold, the mystery of exactly what is going on deepens. Almost every night Kitty dreams of Katharyn and her world, dreams that are so real, once she’s awake and Kitty again; she almost believes the dreams are real. These dreams have a hypnotic effect on Kitty due to the fact that they reveal themselves to be the life she always wished she had.

I won’t go into too much detail, since I want you to read the book for yourself. However, Swanson brings up many topics for us to ruminate on. What is “reality” and do we always “know it when we see it”? What about the life Kitty always envisioned for herself? Was that what she really wanted, or what she was told to want? Can grief affect our minds so profoundly that we create an alternative world? I found myself thinking about these and other questions in the weeks after I finished the book. I highly recommend this novel. It was a well-written book that caused me to think long after turning the last page. Well Done!


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