"Gutenberg made the printed word available to the masses, but that doesn't mean that everybody bothered. That problem fuels "Parnassus on Wheels," a sweet little story about books and an unlikely romance, between a quirky bookseller and a stodgy spinster.
Andrew McGill became an unexpected literary hit when he wrote a book called "Paradise Regained" about a farmer's rural life. For his second book, he went trudging around the countryside for more material, leaving his middle-aged sister Helen to stay home and keep house for him. But one day a strange little man arrives at Helen's home, in a bookshop on wheels. The odd Roger Mifflin wants to sell Andrew his Parnassus -- his portable bookshop -- and intends to wait until Andrew returns.
Desperate to keep her brother from vanishing into the sunset, Helen takes her savings and buys the Parnassus herself. Then, out of regret for the life she has never gotten to experience off the farm, Helen decides to spend some time driving the Parnassus around the countryside. And as Roger teaches her about books and their importance, she begins to see just how a book -- any book -- can change a person's life.
"Parnassus on Wheels" is not a really outstanding book, but it is charming and sometimes very funny. Christopher Morley gives a glimpse into an earlier era, when rural areas didn't have libraries, there was no Internet to show people what was for sale, and a lot of people read nothing but the Bible.
There really isn't much of a plot, since most of it consists of Roger and Helen puttering around the countryside in the Parnassus. If there is a plot at all, it's the sort-of-romance between the two of them. It's cute and slightly sentimental, but peppered with humor such as Andrew and Roger getting into a very undignified fistfight in the road.
Helen starts out as a rather annoying character -- she's prejudiced against people who read, and seems to think that people should simply stay on the farm. That makes it all the more enjoyable when she starts appreciating the written word, and decides that she's not going to be an unappreciated bread-making automaton anymore. Roger Mifflin is actually not as odd as he seems to Helen's eyes, although he does have some charming quirks.
"Parnassus on Wheels" isn't deep or detailed enough to really be a classic, but it is a charming little early-1900s novel. Not to mention a must-read for bibliophiles." - Amazon Reviewer