Cover Image: The Book Charmer

The Book Charmer

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Member Reviews

The Book Charmer felt like a kindred spirit. I’ve long believed books call to me to read them and not the other way around & my grandmother was a librarian of a small branch library, housed in a white historic cottage which looked straight out of Green Gables.  It was as if author, Karen Hawkins wrote a story personally for me.  The characters in Dove Pond feel real which makes you thankful this is book 1 of a series. I love the bits of magic woven through and it reminds me to also pick up a Sarah Addison Allen book again.  This also would make a lovely gift for a book loving friend.
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The Book Charmer is set in a small town in North Carolina called Dove Pond. Dove Pond was named after the Dove family, many of whom have unique abilities. Part of this book follows Sarah Dove, who can hear books speak to her. As the town’s librarian, she finds a way to get the right books to the right people, even if she doesn’t know why they need them. But Dove Pond is struggling financially, and it can only recover with the help of something, or someone, extraordinary.

Enter Grace Wheeler. Her sister has recently passed away, leaving her in charge of her niece, Daisy, and her foster mother, Mamma G, whose dementia is worsening by the day. Grace moves Mamma G and Daisy to Dove Pond because Mamma G is from there and she wants to do whatever will help. However, Grace has a very specific timeline. She only intends to live in Dove Pond for a year before she heads back to the city.

The book also follows Trav, a veteran with PTSD whose father recently passed away from dementia. He lives next door to Grace and is able to connect with Mamma G and Daisy and help out a little, though he’s quickly intimidated by Grace.

Readers who love books with magical realism set in a small town will thoroughly enjoy The Book Charmer. Hawkins did well at writing characters that felt distinct, yet worked well together despite their differences. The most basic thing that readers need to know is that it felt like a Hallmark movie. This simple statement will either sway readers toward the book or away from it. It ultimately comes down to preference. 

This book wasn’t for me. Although Hawkins discussed topics that are a little darker (PTSD, dementia, trauma), I didn’t connect with these issues in the same way that I have in other instances. And I think it’s because of the way Hawkins chose to present these issues. I wanted the conflict within the book to go a little deeper than it did, and I wanted to see more of Sarah Dove’s “power.” I think the author did what she intended with this book.

Readers who want a lighter read that features real issues will enjoy this book.
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The Book Charmer was a charming book that some may see as a light, fluffy read. This book had love and laughter and heartache and was just a wonderful, feel good book. I can’t wait to go back a visit the people of Dove Pond again soon!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.
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I loved this book.  I loved the small town setting, the interesting characters and the importance of the library.  It has magical realism in it and I have already pre-ordered book #2.  I highly recommend it.
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This book doesn't seemed to be well titled, IMO. Yes, there is a character, Sarah Dove, who talks with books, however, she is not the main character. This story centers around Grace Wheeler who moves to Dove Pond with her orphaned niece and her former foster mother, Mama G, who has developed dementia. Grace has taken on the job of town clerk which has duties that she is not interested in undertaking. She only wants to make life easier for Mama G for the time that she has left. But because everyone in town believes that Grace is necessary to save the town from financial ruin, trickery and manipulation are involved in making her stay.

The segments that are related to Mama G's dementia and its effects were well-written and moving, however, the sections which were related to Grace as a mother to her niece and her interactions with the other town folk lack depth that would have made this a great book, now it is only pretty good. I wonder what will come in the future for the residents of Dove Pond.
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I loved this book so very much-- I enjoyed the magic, the town, the townspeople, the romantic elements, the alternating in narrative perspectives among the chapters. This book was very well written and has so much to offer-- the characters were sketched with care, and it was very immersive (I really felt like I was in that town, and could envision the town and its people). I would have liked a bit more magic with the book charmer aspect, beyond just the books talking with Sarah. Overall, a very enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel!!!
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The Book Charmer is a sweet little book about small towns, recovering from family trauma, and a little touch of magic. 

Sarah Dove isn't just your ordinary book loving child turned book loving librarian. No, where Sarah Dove is involved, books literally speak to her and they tell her how to help out the town members and the quaint little town of Dove Pond, where her family has literally lived since the town began.

But it's not just Sarah who has a touch of magic. There's also something about Grace, a woman who ends up coming to Dove Pond and, after some hesitation, agrees to help keep the town on it's feet. Thus begins a beautiful friendship.

The Book Charmer is, in a word, charming. The characters all have their flaws and quirks but they are generally enjoyable to read about. And Dove Pond just sounds lovely. I loved the little touches of magic but just how real all of the situations and characters seemed. All in all, I found this book to be fantastic and I certainly plan on reading whatever Karen Hawkins has coming next for this series.
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So, what would you do if books began to talk to you when you were only 7? No - really - TALK to you. If you were Sarah May Dove, youngest of 7 sisters in a family with very deep roots in Dove Pond, you might simply say "no" to the old journal in the library's glass case. After all, you came to the library to hunt for books about dragons, and dragons you shall have. 

You might relent, though, if the journal appeared, uninvited, in your backpack, and when images of your family's long and unusual history filled your mind at first touch.

This novel will introduce you to long-time residents and returnees to the town, people who have vanished, and people who are - for better or worse - changing.  The losses of memory, some due to dementia and some not, seem to parallel the economic and spiritual losses the town has suffered.  A town can "sundown" as well as a person, and it takes a loving caregiver to make things right.

Sarah's talent as an adult is to put the right book into the right hands, even if the recipient is bewildered or annoyed by the librarian's offering. Grace is bewildered and annoyed by Sarah's insistence on _Little Women_. She has recently, and not happily, returned to Dove Pond, hoping that her beloved foster mother's dementia will be less fearful in her home town. Mrs. G is not Grace's only challenge, though. She is also raising her dead sister's angry, sullen, unpredictable young daughter, Daisy.  Homely, old _Little Women_ is not the book she need or wants. Stay in one place, raise a family, knit mittens, bake bread? No. She just wants to return to her high-powered job in finance. 

The mayor, Grace's new boss, gives her an assignment that is as close to unbearable as she can imagine: join the Dove Pond Social Club, and plan the town's annual Apple Festival. She balks, she is rude, she is as imperious at the first meeting as Daisy would have been. She realizes, belatedly (but not too belatedly) that her financial, outreach, and business skills are exactly what the town needs to be energized and to thrive once again. 

As the plans for the Festival come together, so does the town, and so does at least one potential romance. With the help of neighbor Travis, whose PTSD begins to ease when Mrs. G and Daisy become involved with him and his wandering cat, even Daisy begins to see some potential in her new life. The reader will meet townspeople who begin to remember, contribute, and love what is happening, and they give Grace the first real friendships she has known.

Is this a work of magical realism, akin to Alice Hoffman or Sarah Addison Allen? Yes. Sarah's gift, flowers that change their hue depending on the emotional tenor of the town, leaves that fall in patterns - these are all magical ingredients. But the characters are real, and the plot hinges on human growth and contact more than magic. As Amy March says, "I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship."


Highly recommended. I can hardly wait for the second installment of this lovely series.
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A book about a woman who can speak to books or who has a knack for knowing the specific book that a person needs? What could be better for a book lover like myself?

Sarah Dove is literally who I want to be when I grow up. She is a librarian in a small town who just happens to be able to speak to books. I loved her character so much! So many people see librarians as quiet, shy, introverts. And while that may be true some of the time, it is definitely not true for Sarah. She is outspoken, brave, had a tremendous love for her family and her town, and sometimes even a little pushy.

This book has so many great things going for it: from a small-town vibe to being set in a library for a lot of the time, to several strong but flawed female characters.

I also loved the way that the author blended the magic into the world and made it seem like it was just a natural part of this story and not some extraordinary thing. The magic isn't the focal point of the story, the people are.

The only reason why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is that I did feel like it was a little bit drawn out and there were some parts that could have been cut without really affecting the overall story.

This is meant to be a series and I cannot wait for the next book.
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For fans of heartwarming books such as Louise Miller’s City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, this book is beyond perfect. I loved it in all of the ways possible, especially in meeting the community featured within this work and living in a Hallmark-reminiscent world for a few hours,
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A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.A great read. I loved the story.
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If you are a fan of Sarah Addison Allen, you will enjoy this book thoroughly. There are fantastical elements yes, but there are also real human problems that make this book so worthwhile and raw. This book really captures and tackles what it means to be a woman, mental health issues, the complications of life, love, and friendship along the way. This book kept me engaged until the very end!
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This book just did not resonate with me.  I think it will appeal to other readers but I just did not find characters or a story line that was for me.
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The Book Charmer is the story about Dove Pond where the librarian, Sarah Dove, seemingly talks (and listens) to books. Dove pond has a wealth of characters, including Grace, who has left a job she loves to take care of her family, Mama G, Grace’s foster mother, who is suffering from dementia, and Daisy, Grace’s rebellious niece who is dealing with the death of her mother.  When they move to Dove Pond, in order to mend their broken family, Sarah realizes that Grace is the one destined to save the town from financial ruin.

What can I say?  I thoroughly fell in love with The Book Charmer.  It is a magical and engaging story about a small southern town and its inhabitants.  But it is also so much more.  It’s about strong men and women who forge ahead, even when life throws them a curve.  It’s about neighbors and friends who support and care for each other.  And, it’s about friendships that can develop when it’s least expected. 

The Book Charmer is a fairytale-like book and it’s not the type of book that I read on a regular basis.  But, every once in a while, it’s nice to step into a world where problems will be solved (eventually), things will turn out for the best, and people will be their best.  When I do want to read a book like this, I want a book that is well-written with interesting characters. The Book Charmer fits like a glove.  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Dove Pond and I am looking forward to a return trip in the future.

Thank you, Ms Hawkins, for writing a book that is purely delightful, magical, and entertaining.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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This is a quirky romance book that is perfect for a beach read.  While books talk to me, they don’t quite do it quite in the way they do with Sarah Dove.  I love stories about small towns, especially Southern towns.  So this one appealed to me and the story intertwines in the characters’ lives.  The characters are well developed.  Though Sarah, the book charmer, plays a small role in this book, I believe the author has set things up for a series.

Mama G’s memory is declining and it made my heart ache.  But the developing relationship with Trav is touching and the two of them understand what it is like to deal with parents with memory disorders.  Touching read and one you will enjoy as you get to know all of the people who make up Dove Pond.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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DNF at 12%. Thank you NetGalley and Publisher for this early copy! I went into the novel excited to read it but I could not connect with it. I decided to put it down.
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As far as pros go, there was good character growth for the main characters, and it was an interesting story about how a town can group together... I guess.
On the other side, there are too many characters, even listening to the book left me with difficulty distinguishing the people. It takes an idyllic look at small towns, and although it briefly touches on the problems with small towns (how quickly people can turn on you, how difficult it is to live in a tourist economy) by the end of the book, it's ignored the problems it raised. Also didn't love the epilogue.
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This is book one in the Dove Pond series. IT had me tearing up within the first 5 percent of the book. Yeah, it is that kind of a book. The relationships in the book are so beautifully described and so relatable, it is difficult not to love the characters and get drawn into the story. As I started the book, there were a couple of storylines and I didn't think I would enjoy the book because of so many different stories. But don't give up on it, because they do intersect and the book is a wonderful read. There are a few things that I didn't like about the book. The first and foremost being that even though the title is about Sarah, who is the book charmer, the book is more about Grace and her life. I wish we had a chance to read more of Sarah's story and about her romance with Blake. Also, the book is more about friendships and community and less about romance so if you are looking for a romance novel, this is not it. But it is still a beautiful story about books, magic and the beautiful relationships that make life. 


* I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review*
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This book was truly captivating from start to finish!!! I loved getting to know the town and the unique characters. I love the idea of helping a town find its magic again and watching the characters develop into such interesting people!! Now I want to visit the town of Dove Pond and especially the library!!
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Charming, hopeful book.  Underlying message of the importance of community and less obvious books.  Very enjoyable for difficult times.
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