I bought this tartan-covered novel on impulse at a used book store while I was on vacation. I wanted a light book to read. This delivered.
In The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book, Bill Richardson describes a year in the life of two bachelor brothers who operate a small B&B for bibliophiles. Not only is the house stuffed with books; guests bring piles of their own on “reading vacations.” Book clubs schedule annual meetings here.
The B&B sits near a small town in Canada that’s filled with odd characters. These characters wander into the book’s story–more so, I gather, than in the first Bachelor Brothers’ book, of which this is the second.
The main story line is punctuated with “letters” from former guests, telling their own life stories. Some are simply heartwarming; some are unexpectedly sad. Many come with recipes which I’m now eager to attempt.
Comparisons with Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon are inevitable. Both authors chronicle a charming backwater peopled by quirky characters. The difference, I think, lies in attitude: Keillor maintains a sarcastic–nearly sardonic–distance from his characters, while Richardson paints them as lovable, if odd, human beings. It’s the basic human respect that comes from an episode of Community compared to the more sarcastic tone of Parks & Recreation.
As befits its characters, The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book is an odd thing that I’d have a hard time universally recommending. It’s a celebration of simplicity, reading, and the company of others. I read it in two days.