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by Cynthia Swanson
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Kitty goes to sleep and dreams of herself in a different life. The dreams are recurring. Which life is the real one? The one where she is Kitty, a single woman running a bookstore with her best friend, or Katharyn, happily married mother of triplets? I don't usually like books like this, but somehow this one worked for me. Characters are well drawn and likeable. I kept trying to figure out what was going on with Kitty/Katharyn. The ending is satisfying, although maybe a little too pat.
More romance than mystery for my taste
I really loved this book. Both worlds were intriguing, with fleshed out characters, and both had their upsides and downsides. As the MC's dreams become more involved and her memory losses increase, the suspense of wondering where she'd end up kept me reading late into the night. I can't remember the last time I read a book in just three days. It was engrossing and sweet with a strong character arc, and the author deftly ties the two worlds together in a plausible and satisfying ending.
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.
I'm going to start by saying that I am a little disappointed. I picked this book because the blurb sounded interesting and it was a Goodreads Choice award nominee. All in all I liked the book, but it was a bit boring and repetitive and confusing. That twist at the end though was great, I didn't see that coming at all actually, I thought that was going to go a whole different direction.
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?
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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I adore authors who can take unbelievable, incomprehensible concepts and make them seem possible and real. Kitty as a character is interesting, believable and sympathetic. I began to care what happened to her and worry that she would be stuck in one of these lives when she wanted to live in the other. The plot and the tension build and when Swanson gives us the key to the puzzle, she does not cheat her reader with the manner in which she resolves this dichotomy.
I thought this novel was well-written and great fun. I could not figure out what would prove to be true until the last reveal and I liked that it wasn't a choice between one good life and one bad life, but a choice between two worlds in which something would be lost on either side. Kudos to Cynthia Swanson for a story well-told. ( )