Thursday, April 9, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Bookseller

The BooksellerAbout The Bookseller

Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 3, 2015)
A mesmerizingly powerful debut novel about the ways in which past choices can irrevocably define the present—and the bittersweet confrontation of what might have been

1962: It may be the Swinging Sixties in New York, but in Denver it's different: being a single gal over thirty in this city is almost bohemian. Still, thirty-eight-year-old Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She was involved, once—with a doctor named Kevin—but when things didn't work out the way she had hoped, she decided to chart her own path. Now she dedicates herself to the bookstore she runs with her best friend, Frieda, returning home each evening to her cozy apartment. Without a husband expecting dinner, she can enjoy last-minute drinks after work with her friends; without children who need to get ready for school, she can stay up all night reading with her beloved cat, Aslan, by her side.

Then the dreams begin.

1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They live in a picture-perfect home in a suburban area of Denver, close to their circle of friends. It's the ideal place in which to raise their children. Katharyn's world is exactly what Kitty once believed she wanted . . . but it exists only when she sleeps.

At first, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. Even though there is no Frieda, no bookstore, no other familiar face, Kitty becomes increasingly reluctant to open her eyes and abandon Katharyn's alluring life.

But with each visit to her dreamworld, it grows more real. As the lines between the two worlds begin to blur, Kitty faces an uncertain future. What price must she pay to stay? What is the cost of letting go?

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Review:  I finished this book this morning, and actually I am hard pressed to know what to say about it. This doesn't happen to me very often.

I have mixed emotions about this one and I can't pinpoint what it is.

I enjoyed the book, but it didn't wow me like some book do. In fact, it kind of left me confused.

I think I will edit this review once I have time to let the story settle in my mind.

~  edit 4/11/15

I'm still very undecided about this book. It is an enjoyable read, but it left me with far more questions then answers. There are a whole lot of plot holes in this one that really just make it hard to grasp what was going on.

I think the best way to explain this book is to look at it in science fiction terms.

Kitty life in 1962 as a single woman and a bookshop owner and her life in 1963 as Katharyn Andersson, wife and mother.

The book explains her "other" life as a dream, but one that feels real, and one that has root in people that she really knows.

The way Kitty deals with trying to find answers for her dreams works. It feels like something that anyone that might be having dreams that felt that real, might do. But I couldn't really understand a lot about her, especially her not sharing this sort of dream with her best friend and partner.

And then towards the end when she couldn't figure out which world was reality, I found myself getting more and more baffled. There was no explanation for the second life she was experiencing or how she was getting out of it.

The way she treated Freida in her alternate married life, didn't sit well with me either, not did her treatment of her autistic son. Another plot hole if you ask me. I wondered if there was any significance in her son having this disease and her double life, but again, we were left without any answers.

I can't say it enough, that this book left me wondering more than it satisfied me.

Rating: 3 flowers

Cynthia Swanson About Cynthia Swanson

Cynthia Swanson is a writer and a designer of the midcentury modern style. She has published short fiction in 13th Moon, Kalliope, Sojourner, and other periodicals; her story in 13th Moon was a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three children. The Bookseller is her first novel.

Find out more about Cynthia at her website and connect with her on Facebook.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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