I expected an almost-romance, chick lit sort of book when I picked this one up, and partly that's what I found. The basics of the plot really aren't plausible. The story skates a little too close to romance novel cliches in places, and depends too much on coincidence. The ending of the book isn't disappointing, but neither is it unexpected.
And yet this is a book that I didn't want to stop reading, and one that I would definitely recommend. In clear and competent prose, Swanson wonderfully depicts an early '60's slice of life that rings true in most particulars. The Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedys, the societal transitions the next few years will usher in, all provide a subtle, realistic backdrop. Some of the characters are just sketches, like the loyal friend or the doting husband, but Kitty (the bookseller of the title) is much more. She is appealing and refreshingly likable, matter-of-fact and clear headed except when it comes to her disturbing dreams, and even these she handles with just the right touch of thoughtful self-analysis and grace. When she considers choices, examines priorities and lost opportunities, and faces consequences, she seems utterly real.
This is a book I truly enjoyed, and I'm looking forward to more by Cynthia Swanson.