Karen Hawkins comes to the blog with the first in her Dove Pond series – a lovely story full of challenges, magic and hope.
The Book Charmer
I’m going to be completely clear here – if you are a book lover, a fan of reading and know that books can transport and transform – You MUST read this book! Gloriously magical, full of heart, challenges, grief and transformation, the story will take you places from laughter to tears, reinforcing your hope even as struggles with loss and leaving are present. Hawkins has infused the story with struggles: from PTSD to Alzheimer’s, foster care, rejection and acceptance and come up with a tale that will have you laughing and crying as you are surrounded by the story and its charm.
Grace and her sister Hannah were bouncing from home to home in the foster system until they met Mama G. Where Grace was struggling with her anger and determination to ‘make a place’ for Hannah, Hannah was always ‘on the margins’ and never quite engaged. But Mama G gave them a place that was secure and solid, and showed them love when it was hard to come by. In fact, she was the first “home” the girls ever had. But knowing that life is ever-changing, Grace worked hard to make something of herself, getting a good job and popping back to see her sister and Mama G when she could. Until the worst happened, and Hannah overdosed, leaving her eight year old daughter Daisy with Mama G, and turning their world upside down. And things are only getting worse: Mama G’s health is failing, and Daisy is constantly acting out – being an “auntie” is far easier than being the mother-figure, and with dementia showing it’s ugly head, Grace’s world is in tumult.
One of the suggestions from the doctors was to move Mama G into a place that was familiar, so Grace takes the position as Town Clerk in Dove Pond, a new place, a rented house and plenty of challenges to come. Never the most open or friendly, Grace isn’t adapting well to the ‘everyone knows your name” vibe in Dove Pond, and the fact that the Dove sisters, all with “something special” living 2 doors away doesn’t help. Nor does the motorcycle riding tattooed guy that she calls “Khal Drogo” with the associated scowl, and Daisy’s fascination with him doesn’t help.
Enter Sarah Dove, local librarian and “Book Charmer”, for as long as she can remember, books have spoken to her – allowing her to find the ’perfect’ book for everyone she encounters, and the “history” from the first Dove ancestor is telling her that Grace will be the one to save the town. So Sarah sets out on a friendship crusade, she is going to make Grace like her, and enlist the help of her best friend and neighbor to them both, Travis. After dealing with the burns received in Afghanistan, and then nursing his father through his dementia, Travis is determined to let no one in. But, with a few wandering nights from Mama G, who remembers babysitting his father and is obviously in need of help – he shows both Grace and Mama G the kindness and care they never expected. Especially since Grace seems to be having difficulty with managing her niece and her mother-figure, and accepting help and guidance from the community. It is said that trauma in children stops their emotional growth – and that was obvious for Grace – as she grows and comes to learn that everyone will help her in Dove Point, just because it’s what they do, and what she needs. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to see everything work out for everyone even as my heart broke for Mama G and her fear, the kindness of neighbors and the magic that Sarah Dove and her sisters brought to the story. This book is so much more than a story of matching books to those who need them: it was an escape, a revelation and leaves plenty more for the next round.
Title: The Book Charmer
Author: Karen Hawkins
Series: Dove Pond #1
Genre: Coming of Age, Family Saga, Friendship, Humor elements, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Small Town, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Gallery Books
Published on: 30 July, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 12 Hours
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.