Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: July 2009
My Rating: 4/5
Synopsis [from penguin.com]:
An international sensation, this addictively readable tale asks the question: Why is it so impossible to get a relationship between two middle-aged misfits to work? The answer lies in the story of Shrimp, a young widowed librarian with a sharp intellect and a home so tidy that her jam jars are in alphabetical order; Benny, a gentle, overworked milk farmer who fears becoming the village’s Old Bachelor; and an unlikely love that should not be as complicated as it seems. Reminiscent of the works of Carol Shields, this quirky, humorous, beautifully told novel breathes new life into the age-old conundrum that is love.
Benny is a Swedish dairy farmer who’s never been married. After recently losing his mother he feels it’s time to settle down and find a suitable wife who can support him on the farm. He needs help milking his twenty-four cows and someone to put a warm supper together for him. Someone who doesn’t mind the fact that he orders all his clothes from a catalogue and that the only reading material in his home has to do with tractors and farm related things.
Desiree aka Shrimp is a recently widowed librarian that lives in the city. While her five year marriage with Orjan was pleasant with hardly any problems, Desiree found herself paired with someone she felt she didn’t really know. There was rarely any arguing between them but there wasn’t much passion either. She comes to the cemetery every day to visit Orjan’s grave mostly because she feels it’s the right thing to do.
It’s at the cemetery where the lonely two meet. They dislike each other at first for invading their personal and private moments with their departed loved ones. But after a sweet chance smile one day, the two are quickly attracted to each other despite their differences.
But all isn’t happily ever after for these two offbeat characters, it is in the “meat” of the story where Katarina alternates between both perspectives. Can the two find away to make it last? Even after finding out they have nothing in common but their deep attraction? It seems to be that very attraction that keeps the two inseparable.
I was quickly pulled into the story and just couldn’t stop turning pages. I think it was absolutely brilliant to have the chapters alternate and even cover the same event from both Benny and Shrimp’s point of view. I think you’ll fall in love with the characters and their story. Although the ending didn’t quite sit well with me, I think it would be fantastic to have another installment into their lives. Trust me; you’ll want it too after reading it.
Offbeat, charming, and just plain fun, Benny & Shrimp will surely warm everyone’s heart and keep you giggling along the way!