The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
Published by Gallery Books on July 30, 2019 (expected)
Series: Dove Pond, #1
Genre(s): fiction, magical realism
Format & Length: e-book, 352
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The New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular MacLean Curse series crafts a charming and evocative story about a picturesque Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a magical friendship that will change their lives forever.
The residents of Dove Pond, North Carolina, know three things: they have the finest bar-b-que this side of Atlanta, their Apple Festival is the best that ever was, and the town has phenomenal good luck whenever the Dove family has seven daughters. Fortunately, that time is now, because Dove Pond desperately needs a miracle.
The seventh daughter, Sarah Dove, believes in all things magical. Books have whispered their secrets to her since she was a child. Now the town librarian, she makes sure every book finds the reader who most needs it. But recently the books have been whispering something different—that change is about to come to Dove Pond. Sarah is soon convinced that the legendary Dove Pond good luck has arrived in the form of new resident, Grace Wheeler.
After the tragic death of her sister, Grace has moved to Dove Pond with her grieving young niece and ailing foster mother hoping to retrench financially and emotionally before returning to her fast-paced city life. But she soon learns that life in a not-so-sleepy town isn’t as quiet as she’d hoped. Despite her best efforts to focus on her family, she can’t avoid the townspeople, especially her next-door neighbors, the quirky and talkative Sarah Dove and cynical veteran Chris Parker. Grace’s situation grows more complicated when she assumes her duties as town clerk and discovers that Dove Pond is on the verge of financial ruin.
Already overburdened by her own cares, Grace tries to stay aloof from the town’s issues, but she’s never been good at resisting a challenge. With Sarah’s encouragement, and inspired by the wise words of a special book, Grace decides to save her new town. And in her quest, she discovers the rich comfort of being a part of a loving community, the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the heartfelt power of finding just the right book.
With Karen Hawkins’s “fast, fun, and sexy” (Christina Dodd) prose, The Book Charmer is a feel-good story with plenty of heart that will appeal to fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Alice Hoffman, Heather Graham, and Jude Deveraux.
The Book Charmer was aptly named as it was, in fact, quite charming.
The combination of a small town setting, quirky characters, and a slightly magical quality come together nicely in this story. Its two main characters are Sarah, the town librarian to whom books speak, and Grace, who moves to Dove Pond with her ailing foster mother and niece. Although the book is titled after Sarah, Grace’s story is the main focus. That being said, these two characters foil each other as they get to know each other and their relationship grows.
Where this book shines is in its exploration of the characters and its focus on family and friendships. Despite the fantastical element of books being able to speak to someone, the characters felt realistic and well rounded, making them interesting to spend time with. The fact that this is also a book about books – but not from your typical angle – really worked for me as well. As much as I enjoyed the writing, story, and characters, it was this element that took it up to a full five for me. I might consider picking up future books in this series but realize that without the bookishness, they may miss the mark for me.
I had a feeling upon reading the first sentence of The Book Charmer that it would become a fast favorite, and each page only served to confirm that feeling. This is probably not a book for everyone but if it sounds like something you’d enjoy I definitely recommend giving it a chance!
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.