Monday, June 13, 2011

Romance in the Stacks: What the Librarian Did

 What the Librarian Did (2010) by Katrina Bliss
Find it in the catalog!

I first became aware of this book from Awful Library Books, so my expectations weren't super high when I checked out.  Especially since I'm not really a romance reader (I prefer romance's neurotic sister- chick lit).  But I actually liked the book, even though the plot was a little bit overstuffed.

The book takes place at Auckland University in New Zealand, where former rock star turned student Devin Freeman has just enrolled (James Franco style).  Freeman has just quit his band (Rage) and his life of hard partying.  While at Auckland U, he keeps on running into librarian Rachel Robinson, who has just turned down a marriage proposal despite being 34 and wanting a family.  She has her own secret, though, which we'll get to later.  Naturally, being a librarian, and therefore totally unaware of popular culture, Rachel is the only person who doesn't know Devin is famous.  Therefore, he feels slightly more comfortable around her.

Devin also befriends a 17-year old kid and aspiring musician, Mark, while at the university . Mark is adopted and looking for his birth mother, who is 34 and works at the university (gee...I wonder who that could be!). Rachel worries that Devin might be a poor influence on Mark, but also uses her flirtation with Devin so she can be a part of Mark's life.

Quibbles:  There's a lot going on in the plot.  Rachel has her secret child to deal with and a strained relationship with her mom.  Devin has family problems of his own- his brother (and Rage's lead singer) might have stolen money from him.  Also, his mom, who had health problems, might be falling in love again.  There's also a lot of conflict between Rachel and Devin; they always seem to assume the worst about each other.  

Praise:  The characters are all fairly enjoyable here.  I have a soft spot for bad boys with a heart of gold (at least in fiction; in real life they almost never look like Taylor Kitsch), so naturally I liked Devin right away, even with his purple boots.  Rachel might come off as prim and proper at first, but she's totally cool.  She is funny when she verbally spars with Devin and she's a vintage clotheshorse to boot!  The book is lighthearted and funny, and fairly tame as romances go. Also, the characters have refreshingly normal names for a romance! 

Overall, What the Librarian Did is a fun, humorous and quick read.  It should appeal to fans of chick lit as well as romance readers.