The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) by Karen Hawkins came up in my Goodreads recommendations based on some of my previous reads. The story is set in Dove Pond, a small town that has been home to the Dove family for generations. The Dove sisters all have special gifts, and Sarah (the youngest sister) grows up to become the librarian for the town where she uses her own gift to match books to the people who need to read them. The books help, because Sarah can talk to them.

Meanwhile, after the chaos of a childhood spent in the foster system, where people were constantly letting her down, Grace has moved to Dove Creek with her 7-year-old niece and her foster mother Mama G. Despite her attempts to keep her life buttoned up and regimented, Grace finds herself suddenly assigned the role of mother and caretaker for both her niece and Mama G, who is suffering from Alzheimers.

Almost as soon as Grace moves in a few doors down, the books start to chatter at Sarah that Grace is there for a reason, and that she might just be the person the city has been waiting for to save it from the edge of financial disaster

The citizens of Dove Pond welcome Grace with open arms—at least most of them do. There are meddling older ladies, a town sheriff, and a handsome war veteran going through his own personal struggles with PTSD and grief.

There were a lot of things I really liked, including:

  • A running Game of Thrones gag where Grace and her niece both refer to the handsome war veteran as Khal Drogo (only one of them does it to his face)
  • Mama G with her sweet, kind, strange soul and her love of knitting
  • Grace’s completely realistic characterization of what it’s like when you take on everyone else’s burdens and try to fake your way through until something rears up and smacks you with a reality stick
  • The importance of community, friendship, and families both genetic and found
  • A teensy-tiny bit of magic

That said, this is one of those books-that’s-a-series where I’m not sure I loved it so much that I need to read the books I’m sure she’ll write for the other six Dove sisters. I have no regrets about reading it, and it was a nice, easy story to get lost in that wasn’t too heavy for my current reading tastes, but it also didn’t grab me to the point where I’m immediately invested in reading the next story. I might someday, but it’s not a priority that bumps it ahead of the other books I’m already hoping to get to.

Have you read any of the Dove Pond stories? If so, what did you think?

I’m looking for my next light read – anyone have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

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