Thursday, June 16, 2011

Romance in the Stacks: The Librarian's Secret Scandal

The Librarian's Secret Scandal (2010) by Jennifer Morey.
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Like so many who come to the library profession, Lily Masterson was a bad girl in her youth.  But 15 years after she left her hometown of Honey Creek, she has put her bar fights and affairs behind her and is a reformed lady.  She's now a mother to teen-aged May and takes care of her dying father.  However, the rest of Honey Creek still continues to gossip about her and her daughter.  And she's got even bigger problems, the man who raped her 15 years ago is up for parole.  In fact, she runs (literally...with her car) into hunky Sheriff Wes Colton in the prison parking lot after testifying for the parole hearing.  Lest you think there is not nearly enough drama going on, Colton's brother was just recently acquitted of a murder after severing several years in prison...and the real killer is on the loose.

Quibbles:  I wish there was more moral ambiguity with the characters.  Lily may have been a bad girl in her past, but now she's downright stoic.  She puts up with her father treating her like mud, even though she's taking care of him instead of sending him to a nursing home.  She tells her daughter May not to defend herself from the gossip mongers.  And she tries to keep her residual pain from her rape a secret from everyone, including Wes.  Likewise, Wes is very honorable and is the only person who doesn't judge Lily on her past.  Meanwhile, the rest of the townsfolk come off as mean and petty.  Also, I found Lily to be frustratingly stubborn, though that's probably supposed to show her strength of character. 

The novel's plot takes a long time to develop and doesn't quite wrap up in a satisfying way either.  I honestly don't even remember who the real killer is, granted the suspense storyline is less important than the romance one.  Also, it is mentioned several times that Wes mysteriously left the Navy SEALS, but that plot line is kind of dropped.  This book is part of a series, so it's possible these loose ends are tied up in another book.  

Praise:  I prefer my leading men to be more quirky, but until Harlequin publishes a series about sensitive hipsters with beards or neurotic intellectuals, I guess I'll have to make do with typical hunky sheriff who probably wears flannel shirts unironically.  That being said, Wes is pretty dreamy. First, his name sounds super manly (seriously, say "Wes Colton" out loud...Manly).  Second, he's good at taking charge of a situation.  Third, he's the only sheriff from Montana who refuses to wear a cowboy hat in public. And fourth, he's probably better at defending you from an attacker than a Jesse Eisenberg type.  Also, in my brain, Paul Schneider played him.

The Librarian's Secret Scandal was a quick and easy read.  The librarian angle doesn't play too much into the plot, once and a while Lily will shelve books or read a trashy romance.  The book probably works better within the context of the whole Coltons of Montana series.  On it's own, I would recommend it to fans of romantic-suspense novels, small town life, and hunky sheriffs.