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The Bookseller    by Cynthia Swanson order for
by Cynthia Swanson
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

In 1962 Denver, Colorado, Kitty Miller was half owner of a small independent book store. After teaching school for several years, unhappy with her job, she agreed to open the book store with Frieda (her best friend since high school) in 1954, with a loan co-signed by Frieda's wealthy father. For many years they had done well. But after the neighborhood changed because of changing traffic patterns, they were struggling to pay the rent. Kitty loved the bookstore in the neighborhood where it was located and resisted Frieda's attempts to talk her into moving to a new shopping center. She was able to walk to work from her small apartment, and though she was in her mid-thirties and unmarried, she was happy with the job and her life.

When the dreams started she found them so realistic that she was actually tired during the day, as though she hadn't slept at all. In these dreams she was married, with three children, living in an expensive house in the suburbs. Neither the bookstore nor Frieda are in her dreams. During her days in the bookstore she tries to figure out why she's having these dreams. She realizes that she had talked to Lars (her husband in the dreams) once on the telephone, after he answered a personals ad that she placed in the newspaper eight years before. They had arranged to meet for a date, and although she waited for him at the agreed upon location, he apparently stood her up.

As Kitty continues to have the dreams and does some research on the locations and people who appear in them, she becomes more and more confused. The dreams become longer and her daytime hours in the bookstore become shorter. We wonder, with Kitty, what is going on and why she would be having these dreams.

I liked the mystery in The Bookseller and the way it resolved, and I especially enjoyed moving around Denver with Kitty as she tries to figure out what is going on. She lives in, and travels to, parts of the city that are familiar to me, since I lived in Denver for many years, and the store, mall, and street names bring back happy memories. Her special problem of wanting to remain in their small, locally owned bookstore at a time when large chains had not taken over book selling, is also interesting. The characters are likeable and believable, the plot is well thought out, and I highly recommend this book.

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