Short Take: The Bookseller – Cynthia Swanson

This debut has a “Sliding Doors” plot that involves a woman in the 1960s presented with the choice between two lives: one as a wife and mother, the other as a single career woman  and bookstore owner. As I read it, I thought it was also a love letter to mid-century Denver; buildings, businesses, streets and sites of the city all came vividly to life. With the bookstore-friendly plot, it’s not surprising that this is an Indie Next Pick

“Kitty is single, childless, and owns a floundering bookstore with her best friend, Frieda. She has pursuits and interests that Katharyn’s life has no room for. Initially believing that Katharyn is a figment of her imagination, a pleasant dream showing what married life could have been like, Kitty identifies the one moment that prevented her life from becoming Katharyn’s. Kitty’s uncertainty about which woman’s reality is real consumes her. Swanson masterfully crafts both Kitty’s and Katharyn’s worlds, leaving open the question of which of them is real until the final pages. Swanson’s evocative novel freshly considers the timeless question, ‘What if?’”
Publishers Weekly

Dexterously traversing past and present, fact and fiction, Swanson’s clever first novel ingeniously explores the inventive ways the human spirit copes with trauma.”
Booklist

“Most people wonder what their life would be like if they had done just one singular thing differently in the past. Fortunately for Kitty Miller, she can escape her dull life as a 30-something single owner of a cat, a life in which she is also the owner of a failing bookstore with her best friend, to a dream world in which she is Kathryn, a happily married suburban mother of three children. The Bookseller is a perfectly intriguing novel with plot twists that ultimately teach the reader that no life is perfect, even the fantasy ones.”
— Melissa Schirmer, Joseph-Beth Booksellers,  Cincinnati, OH

The Bookseller (9780062333001) by Cynthia Swanson. $25.99 hardcover. 3/3/15 on sale.

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