I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
Series: Dove Pond #1
Published by Gallery Books on 2019-07-30
Length: 368 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 New Release Challenge
New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.
Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.
If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.
“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.
Have you ever read a book that hooks you on the first word? You know that feeling that you’ve slipped into another world and are living with the characters, experiencing things with them as you read? That is how I felt reading The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins. The world, the characters, their plight….it was all real to me. A touch of whimsy mixed with the real world problems lays the foundation for this new tale. Centered around two women and their role in saving the town of Dove Pond, The Book Charmer is a perfect, cozy summer read.
The book introduces us first to Sarah Dove, the seventh daughter of the Dove family. It is said that good things happen to the town of Dove Pond when there are seven daughters in the Dove family. Each daughter has her own special gift, and Sarah’s is her ability to talk to books. The books tell her who needs to read them, and Sarah delivers them to those people. As the town librarian, she has access to all the books and most of the town’s residents. One day a book tells her that the town’s new resident Grace Wheeler will save the town, and Sarah’s job is to make sure she doesn’t leave.
Grace recently relocated to Dove Pond. My heart broke for her over and over again. Her sister died just a few months before her move, leaving her 9 year old niece in Grace’s custody. Their foster/adoptive mother has been diagnosed with dementia, which is what prompted the move. Mrs. Giano grew up in Dove Pond, and her doctors are hopeful that living somewhere familiar will help slow the progress of the disease and the confusion that comes with it. Grace is at her wits end. She hopes to stay in Dove Pond only temporarily, but fate has other plans. As the new town clerk, she uncovers that the town is drowning in debt and will soon die if something isn’t done. Grace together with Sarah comes up with a plan to hopefully save the town.
Sarah and Grace are complete opposites. I found myself laughing at times because they are so different. Grace doesn’t trust easily and is a very private person. Raised in foster care, she relies on herself and no one else. Sarah is an in-your-face kind of girl. She’s sweet, everyone loves her. She isn’t used to being ignored which Grace excels at doing. It’s interesting to read their interactions and see how it plays out.
In addition to the friendship, there is a love interest. It isn’t the main focus of the story, but it is there and a few of the chapters are from his perspective. Trav is a former military man, injured in the line of duty. He moved back to Dove Pond a few years before Grace. His father passed away after battling dementia, so he is a help to Grace with Mama G. Their relationship is strained, but sweet to read as it evolves into something with possibility.
Overall I really enjoyed The Book Charmer. It is charming as the title suggests. The whimsy, the small-town charm, and the friendships make this book. If you enjoy women’s fiction and contemporary romance with a lot of heart, I highly recommend it.