Friday, March 6, 2015

The Bookseller - Cynthia Swanson

The Bookseller
Cynthia Swanson
Harper, Mar 1 2015, $25.99
ISBN 9780062333001

In 1963 Denver, Lars Andersson wakes up his wife Katharyn because one of their three children Missy feels ill and wants her mother.  Muddled Katharyn insists her name is Kitty Miller and has no idea who Lars, Missy or their two sons (Mitch and Michael) are.  Checking on Missy anyway, Kitty easily slips into the mommy role as if she has years of maternal experience.  Looking into a mirror, Kitty sees Kitty stare back at her yet has vivid memories that belong to Katharyn and not her.

In 1962 Denver, Kitty wonders about this Katharyn whom "lives" a radically different lifestyle than she does.  Whereas Kitty is single with no children and co-owns a bookstore with her BFF Frieda, Katharyn has a spouse with three offspring.  Analyzing what she knows, Kitty concludes she made up Katharyn to better understand what her life would have been with a family to share it and pinpoints the pivotal moment when she failed to become a spouse.  However, Kitty also fears that she has everything mixed up and that Katharyn is the real persona imagining life as single Kitty.

The Bookseller is a captivating twisting historical starring a wonderfully confused Katharyn-Kitty whose absorbing storyline focuses on “The Road Not Taken” (Robert Frost).  Although the support cast comes across as one-dimensional with the only purpose being how they connect and enhance the heroine(s), this is an interesting drama.

Harriet Klausner

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