Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Bookseller

The Bookseller is Cynthia Swanson's debut novel and a story I found myself entirely sucked into.

It is 1962 and Kitty and her friend Freda are running their own bookstore in Denver, Colorado.  Kitty would have enjoyed being married and having children, but a long term boyfriend never led to marriage, and after being stood up on a blind date, she chose to live a life of solitude.  

However, when Kitty falls asleep she often wakes up in 1963 as Katharyn, where she is the mother to triplets and is happily married to Lars (who coincidentally is the man who never showed up for their date in 1954).  This dream life is taking its toll on Kitty as she becomes more enmeshed in what is going on in it.  When she returns to 1962 she tries to locate her house, Lars' sister, and other things that might solve some of the mystery.

I'm not a big fantasy reader, but the time travel in this book was very intriguing and I enjoyed each time period as I tried to determine how this would all come together in the end. Sometimes one time period is more appealing than another, but perhaps because Kitty was the protagonist in both.

The other thing that I felt was very well done was the 1963 setting.  Swanson was an expert at creating a very realistic time period.  I found myself being impressed with many little details. At one point Kitty (in 1962) asks who is the president.  Of course the answer was Kennedy.  In my mind I was then able to determine that she was somewhere in 1963 prior to his assassination. But, Swanson expertly had Kitty realize that her question didn't reveal much since Kennedy was indeed the president in 1963 and since no one anticipated his death, the setting could have been 1964, or even 1968 if he had been re-elected.

Up until the very end I was not sure how Swanson would weave these two time periods and stories together.  As Kitty spends a lot of time in 1963, memories are revealed and other bits of the story which helps bring things to a satisfying conclusion. 

Swanson's debut novel was absolutely delightful and a book I will be recommending to others.  


Kay said...

There was a movie called Sliding Doors that seems sort of like this. I'm intrigued and will be checking this one out.

Ti said...

I saw this one the other day and got all excited and then read the part about falling asleep and the alternate time thing and list interest. I like time travel but the going back to find an alternate life thing bores me to tears.

I love that decade though. I almost want to read it just for that.