The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

About the book: 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.

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Series: Dove Pond #1

My thoughts: I requested this book from NetGalley based on the cover which I thought was pretty and the fact it had something to do about books. I didn’t read the description so I went into reading this book a bit blindly. This book was nothing like I thought it might be.

The author starts out with Sarah and Grace as young girls and we get to know a bit about who they are. Then fast-forward to present day and we see Grace and Sarah meet for the first time when Grace moves her family to Dove Pond. Grace’s family consists of her mom and her niece. They have moved back to Dove Pond because Mama G has dementia and a move back to her childhood home might make things easier on everyone. I thought the author did a fantastic job of portraying what it was like for Grace and Mama G as her dementia progressed and things became more difficult for each of them. Next door neighbor Travis Parker was a nice addition to the story and the fact that he had just gone through the same thing with his father made him a very believable character and support for Grace. I liked Sarah more though and I think that’s because she came across as more dimensional than Grace. Sarah was a softer character and one that I just thought I would have more in common with.

While I enjoyed the story I thought the pace was a bit slow at times and it seemed like the story was stuck. Things were repeated over and over and hopefully were edited out before the story was published. The book is 368 pages and could probably be trimmed down to 300 and not lose any of the story’s substance. At times I had a difficult time staying interested in the story and I think with some editing this wouldn’t have been an issue. One other thing was the rushed ending that wasn’t really an ending at all. I know there are more books to come in the series but it would be nice to have had some closure on the main part of the story (which isn’t about Sarah, by the way).

All in all, this isn’t a bad read and I was interested enough in the story and the characters that I would strongly consider reading the next book in the series. I don’t like unfinished endings and would like to know what happens next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and wasn’t required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Hawkins writes novels that have been praised as touching, witty, charming, and heartwarming. A native Southerner who grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee where storytelling is a way of life, Karen recently moved to frosty New England with her beloved husband and multiple foster dogs. The Dove Pond books are a nod to the thousands of books that opened doors to more adventures, places, and discoveries than she ever imagined possible.

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