The Dove sisters have always seemed magical, so it’s no real surprise when books begin conversing with Sarah Dove. As the town librarian for Dove Pond, it’s a handy skill— the books tell her exactly what every reader needs. And when the books begin rumbling about the arrival of a new resident, Grace Wheeler, Sarah knows a savior has finally come to break Dove Pond’s string of bad luck. But Grace has no intentions of becoming an active denizen— she’s just there for a year to take care of her sick mother and niece before heading back to the hustle and bustle of her life in Charlotte. However, with a few overzealous neighbors and a bit of magic, it just might be too hard to resist the charm and the challenge of saving the town.
Often books that rotate viewpoints for each chapter suffer from having one character that’s more interesting than the other. Fortunately, author Karen Hawkins has peppered The Book Charmer with such compelling, quirky characters that each unique switch is more than welcome. Dove Pond is intended as an attractive small town with a hint of magic in the air and, because of its locals, it more than succeeds.
Hawkins has carefully crafted the relationships between each of these citizens, balancing expertly between the sweet and the dramatic. They’re fully realized, complicated individuals that somehow fit together in a way that can only happen in a tight community. Somehow even simple scenes about town meetings are riveting because of an amusing, eccentric cast navigating through small town politics and development.
Through it all, Sarah struggles with her power, looking for signs in her books, and grasping to hold her crumbling town together. But though Sarah might earn a place in the title and push the action behind the scenes, Grace is the glue binding the book together. Overwhelmed after the death of her sister, she moves her adopted mother, Mama G, and niece, Daisy, to Dove Pond is order to slow things down and aid Mama G, who has Alzheimer’s. Her opening chapters are heartbreaking, but Hawkins delivers beautiful hope as Grace settles into a life she never thought she wanted.
There aren’t too many towns as charming as Dove Pond. Visit for the bewitching characters, but stay for their magical stories.
Title: The Book Charmer
Series: Dove Pond #1
Author: Karen Hawkins
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Classification: Magical Realism, Women’s Fiction
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.