The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

the booksellerThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson is a story that plays off in the 1960s in Denver, America. It tells the story of a woman living in an alternate reality, in different time periods, but which one is reality and which one is the life she created for herself in her mind?

In 1962, she is Kitty Miller.  She is a single woman living on her own and owns a business with her best friend, Frieda.  They have a book shop that isn’t doing very well, but they have plans to expand. She has everything she needs – she quit her job as a teacher to do what she loves,  leads a satisfactory life (albeit without a man, which is quite unlikely for her age during that time) and has loving parents.  However, at night when she goes to sleep, her other life comes forth, in her dreams…

In 1963 she is Katharyn Andersson.  She is married to a loving husband, Lars and has 3 children – Mitch, Missy and Michael, who are triplets. She lives in a beautiful home, is happily married and has great friends.   Her dream life seems very appealing to her and sooner, rather than later, she can’t wait to go to sleep to enter her alternate reality. However, she will soon find that her other life isn’t without its own disadvantages, one of which is the fact that Michael is autistic and she doesn’t know how to handle him.

Which of these lives is the real reality? Is she Kitty Miller or Katharyn Andersson? Which life does she prefer?  As Kathryn Andersson, she seeks to find out why certain people she loves are no longer part of life, while as Kitty Miller, she is excited about her other life, until she learns something about Katharyn’s reality she cannot deal with. She is ready to say goodbye to her life as Katharyn, but before that happens she finds out which life is her actual reality and why she has created this “other life” in her mind. The Bookseller is an easy and enjoyable read that was hard to put down. I enjoyed reading it!

Have you ever dreamed of another life when you go to sleep at night? Do you know of anyone who has created an alternate reality in their mind, in order to deal with trauma?

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  • Thanks for the review! I love the premise of this book, but was it confusing with the shifting between lives? I wondered about that.

    • Yes, she “lived” her other life when she was dreaming. I can see how this will get confusing. At the end, her real life was the one I thought was her “other world” 🙂

  • Great review! I’ve been seeing this book around quite a bit lately (online and today at the bookstore) so I’ll have to check it out at some point 😉 The premise sounds very interesting.

  • Jennine G.

    I enjoyed this one too. I don’t think I’d dream of an alternate reality for myself. It seems every story that has that premise doesn’t turn out well or happens for a bad reason!

    • Which other ones have you read with the same premise?

      • Jennine G.

        The one that comes to mind is The Other Life by Ellen Meister. I didn’t like it as much as The Bookseller.

  • Enjoyable and hard to put down? Sign me up! 😉

  • Ciska van der Lans

    Enjoyed reading this one too! I hardly ever remember what I dream about so who knows what kind of exciting adventures I have while asleep 🙂

    • I also don’t remember what I dream. If I do, it’s very vague, but I do know I have some really awesome dreams sometimes 🙂

  • Isi

    Great that you also liked it!
    I love books about dreams because I dream a lot myself. I liked the story and how we get to know little by little the advantages and disadvantages of the two lives.

    • Really liked this book! I know some people gave up on it at some point, but I just really wanted to know which one was her real life!

  • Reading Pleasure

    Nice review, Melinda.

  • Denver! That’s where I live! Well, now I have to look into this one.

  • Great review Melinda. I wonder which life was her reality. Once in a blue moon I’ve had very vidid dreams. I am usually happy when I can remember pieces of my dreams.

    • Oh Pat, talking about remembering dreams – I have those vivid dreams too. Sometimes they are so fantastic, I wake up happy, but I can never remember them. In the case that I do, it’s almost only for the first 5 minutes and then the memory of the dream leaves me. A pity!

      I think you might want to read it, if you want to find out which one was her reality 🙂