Monday, June 8, 2015

Julie's Review: The Bookseller

Author: Cynthia Swanson
Series: None
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 352
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: Loved the dual lives but wanted a slightly better ending
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: 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 didnt 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. Its 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?  

Review: The Bookseller will most definitely have you up late reading and will have you wondering which life is real and which is the dream. Kitty is a great character. She owns a bookstore with her best friend in a party of the city that is headed downhill. Frieda has wanted to leave the area but Kitty loves their location. As Kitty sleeps, Katharyn emerges and her life couldn't be more different than Kitty's. She's married with children and it's 1963 not 1962.

Ms. Swanson does an excellent job of keeping you on your toes. You can't wait for Kitty to wake up and try to piece together the pieces of the life she has and the one she dreams about. Or is it Katharyn who needs to wake up? These are the things that made me keep turning the pages. I couldn't decide which life was real and which one wasn't. Also, I wanted to know what was going on? Why was either woman having these dreams or alternate realities?

While I felt for Katharyn, it was Kitty that I really liked. She was so smart, independent and likeable. I felt that Katharyn was a step-ford wife. She was a little too perfect for my taste and so was Lars. I really did keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with him.

Ms. Swanson slowly unravels the story until the end when all is known. I have to say that I wanted a different ending. That's not to say that I didn't appreciate the way it ended but I just wanted something else. I think I almost wanted both to exist, even though I know they couldn't.

I enjoyed every page of this book that I read and definitely will look to see what Ms. Swanson writes next.



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