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The Bookseller: A Novel by Cynthia Swanson

The Bookseller: A Novel

by Cynthia Swanson

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An amazing first novel. Absolutely amazing! I can envision this novel becoming a classic as it is a provocative and thoughtful presentation of a question that every person asks of themselves at some time during their adult life - "What if I had taken a different path on my life journey?" -or- "What if I had made a different choice at a life-altering decision time during my life journey?"

The movement between the character's worlds - one as Kitty - one as Kathryn - is seamless and the question of which is her 'real life' is not revealed until the final pages. The writing is masterful, powerful, thoughtful, and riveting. I do not recall becoming drawn into a story - and particularly by presentation of a first novel - since reading "The Orchardist" by Amanda Coplin in 2013. ( )
  Corduroy7 | Nov 16, 2017 |
Interesting enough but predictable and lacking in depth. The character is living in two different worlds - one real life and one takes place in her dreams. ( )
  mfabriz | Jun 26, 2017 |
A woman develops the ability--or perhaps the curse--to view a version of her life in a dream, and reacts to the wonder and disappointments of a reality she cannot remember choosing or knowing. Swanson shows real skill in this debut, deftly portraying the character's struggle to understand what is happening to her and what the two lives she lives and dreams say about who she has been and who she dares to become. Marvelous! ( )
  SonjaYoerg | Mar 6, 2017 |
This is a good debut novel and I enjoyed it, but I just didn't love it. I listened to the audiobook and I think the narrator did a good job. I didn't particularly like the main character, mainly because I thought she was pathetic.

The story is about Kittie/Katherine who lives in parallel worlds. In one world, she's single and working at a bookstore with her best friend. In the other world, she's married to Lars and they have a set of 6-year-old triplets, 2 boys and one girl. One of the boys has autism. Both worlds take place in the early 1960's, but the married world is occurring a few months into the future.

There's confusion about which life is real and which is imaginary. You'll have to read it and decide for yourself which one is which. This is an interesting story concept, but I would have preferred a stronger main character. It wasn't just Kittie/Katherine that needed more character development; it was her husband Lars and the housekeeper too.

I'd still recommend this book to people who love debut fiction and discovering new authors. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Really enjoyed this novel. The story was fresh and different from anything that I'd read before and seemed to turn on a what-if instance in time. Kitty/Katharyn gets to live her life as it always was meant to be, but in her dreams she lives her life if she had stayed on the phone just a few seconds longer and all the changes that would have brought. At times she's not sure which life she'd rather be in and wishes she could pick and choose bits from both. Until such time comes and her worlds collide. Then the story is a testament to the things your mind when it feels it absolutely necessary.

Set in the early 1960's in Denver in the Platt Park neighborhood where I lived before moving to my current home just outside of Denver, I was fascinated by the history and locale. I'm pretty certain that the Sisters Bookstore from the novel was located right behind my old duplex. And other than the Vogue theater most every place she mentioned still exists, albeit in a much different form.

I'm highly recommend this book. ( )
  she_climber | Sep 26, 2016 |
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Trust your happiness and the richness of your life at this moment.  It is as true and as much yours as anything else that ever happened to you.
—Katherine Anne Porter, Letters of Katherine Anne Porter
For my parents, Dennis and Audrey Fisher, with love and gratitude.
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This is not my bedroom.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062333003, Hardcover)

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 didn’t 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. It’s 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?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:46 -0400)

"A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel that will keep you turning pages into the early hours, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who wrestles to reconcile her daily life as a single bookstore owner with the alternate reality she suddenly begins to dream about each night, in which she is a happily-married wife and mother"--… (more)

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