Which Life Will “The Bookseller” Select?

I liked Kitty as a character because she was introspective and showed genuine concern for those around her. However, there was nothing especially compelling about her. She didn’t face any monumental life decisions or have an overly good or bad life in either time frame. Kitty’s life wasn’t so horrible that I wanted the dream to be real, and vice versa. There was some drama in Katharyn’s life that everyone kept from her, but it was downplayed so much that it wasn’t much of a plot.

Despite the title, this was not a book for book lovers in the way that Guernsey was. In fact, there wasn’t any significance associated with Kitty’s profession. The main theme that emerged here was one of motherhood, rather than Kitty’s relationship status. The focus on her imaginary child’s autism overpowered the absence of love in her other life. This type of story could easily have become confusing with the constant jump between times, but the author did a good job of keeping each life separate and having only certain things cross over.

In the end, I wasn’t satisfied with how either life impacted the other. Although Kitty began examining aspects of Katharyn’s life in the present by going to the same stores, using the same hairdresser, and looking up Katharyn’s husband, none of those things had any significant impact. Kitty didn’t use any knowledge she had in one life to help her achieve anything in the other. In the bookseller life, she had no relationship prospects so her time with Lars didn’t help her. In the married life, she battled with her son’s autism, but she didn’t bring any special knowledge to the problem. In those ways, I felt the book lacked the ability to make a statement or have a significant impact.

This was an okay read, but I found other books with this same premise much more interesting.


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