Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Well, this book was charming for me. A quick read that hopefully is the beginning of a series of tales about the people in Dove Pond, North Carolina. 

Karen Hawkins is a romance author, and when I first saw this book, I knew her name was familiar to me-probably because I shelved her romances for years while I worked at B&N! But, fear not. Yes there is some romance in this novel, but it most definitely isn't a romance novel. More of a feel good, Sweet Home Alabama-Reece Witherspoon-ish kind of novel. Yes, it could find a place on the Hallmark Channel. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of Hallmark movies, in that they just are a little too perfect. The folks in Dove Pond, and the two lead female characters, most definitely aren't perfect. 

Sarah Dove comes from a long line of women who have special talents. Sarah's talent is one that I think every book lover would wish for themselves: the books talk to her and tell her who they should go to next. Sarah hears them, loud and clear, and they can be kind of nagging, too. But she gives those books to folks, and by golly somehow they do end up needing whatever is in that book. She's the town librarian, and she knows, thanks to a cranky old history of Dove Pond, that she's going to be responsible for saving the town. Dove Pond, like a lot of small towns, is slowly dying: people are moving away, businesses are closing. 

Grace arrives in town with her niece Daisy and her foster mom, Mama G. She's left a high powered job to bring Mama G back to the small town she grew up in, and as Mama G's Alzheimer's progresses, it's the best place to take care of her. Daisy is a little girl full of anger and grief, after Grace's sister and Daisy's mother, Hannah died recently from a drug overdose. So much grief to carry, and Grace is full of it, and feels the pressure of taking care of Mama G and trying to be a mother to her niece. And start all over in a small town. She's determined that she'll only be in Dove Pond for a year, and then she's moving back to Charlotte and her old life. She's got a job as the town clerk, and it's pretty horrible. The Mayor fishes all the time, and is terribly irresponsible. Grace isn't out to make friends, and Sarah--oh, she wants to be Grace's friend. 

Grace is going to save the town--this is what the old history book of the town tells Sarah. A little put off that she's not going to be the town savior, Sarah eventually realizes that it will take both her and Grace to do it together. Sarah has to convince Grace to care enough about the town to stay and save it. 

There are romantic interests for both ladies, and the folks of Dove Pond are a cast of characters that really flesh out the story and make Dove Pond feel like it really exists outside of this novel. There is a lot left open at the end of the book, so yes, there will be more to come. It was a fast read, and a gentle one, at that. Anyone who has dealt or is dealing with a parent suffering from memory loss, and declining in health, will feel Grace's anguish. But lucky for Grace, she has a whole town holding her up. If only every caregiver could experience that gift. 

Rating:  3/6 for a quick read introducing the people of Dove Pond, the magical Dove sisters, and the power of community to heal and help. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 

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