The title to this book is a cute play on words that refers both to the fact that our heroine is a librarian and to a certain facet of the characters’ romantic relationship. That sense of cute, easy fun conveys pretty much what this novel is – a quick, breezy relaxed end of summer treasure.
Dorothy Jarrow (DJ to her friends) has long been rootless. As a child she was the unwanted interloper in her parent’s marriage who was whisked off to boarding school at the earliest opportunity. As an adult she has moved as needed to procure education or employment. All of that is about to change. Inexplicably DJ has been picked for a job she hadn’t even applied for – to be head of the tiny but thriving library system in the small town of Verdant, Kansas.
DJ’s first stop when she reaches town is not her small apartment but her place of work. Her initial impression is not quite all she had hoped for. Upon entering the building she realizes “Outside it had been all Andrew Carnegie. Inside it was all Tim Burton.” That impression is not helped when she is glared at by the woman at the library desk, an employee who has been in charge at the library since the last librarian died. Rescue from the awkward situation comes in the form of Vivian Sanderson, the board member who has hired DJ. Viv pulls her away from the “drab, dusty old place” and takes her to her new apartment.
The apartment is another surprise. While it is certainly homey and lovely, it is also attached to Viv’s house. DJ, used to living alone aside from her beloved dog Dew, is not thrilled with this living arrangement. She makes a mental note to move out as soon as she is established at work.
The final surprise is one that is not only unexpected but seemingly impossible. Years ago on her 21st birthday DJ had had her one and only one night stand as part of a South Padre Island birthday extravaganza. No names had been exchanged, no personal information of any kind given. It was a hot, wild, uninhibited experience that DJ planned never to relive. So why is her partner in that experience standing before her now being introduced as Viv’s son Scott?
Scott Sanderson is pleasantly surprised by the town’s new librarian. She is pretty, if in a buttoned up, long skirted sort of way. She is also vaguely familiar. All of that becomes unimportant as Scott realizes just how unlikable she is. She gives monosyllabic responses to questions and is curt to the point of rude. Glad that he is just over for dinner and doesn’t have to live with her Scott goes back to his own place and tries to put her out of his mind. Not easy to do since he is the town pharmacist and everyone visits Sanderson Drug in the next few days to gossip about the newcomer to town.
Making forgetting her even harder is the fact that his mom seems determined that Scott get acquainted with DJ. Before he knows it he is finagled into taking the new librarian to a movie. Since that is the local hangout on a Saturday night, everyone begins to pair the two together. Will they be able to stand against a whole town of matchmakers?
Normally a small community full of well-wishing nosey bodies trying to get a couple together would have me rolling my eyes. It works here because Ms. Morsi does such a good job of building every character that appears on the page. From the taciturn Vern to the gregarious Suzy everyone has a unique personality which enhances the story.
Speaking of characters my favorite was easily little Dew. He is such a sweet, wise dog. For much of the tale Dew serves as companion and confidant to Scott’s mother, Viv. The author doesn’t have him perform any great tricks but instead shows how a silent yet loving companion can really impact a life.
Scott is a beta hero to die for. He is a genuinely nice, middle class guy who is kind to others, an important part of his community, hardworking and good looking besides. He wasn’t a push over; we see him handle several situations with grace combined with quiet strength, but he did sincerely care about others’ feelings. This is literally the man of most ladies’ real dreams – the kind of guy you would absolutely want to be married to in real life.
Another great thing about the tale was that the problems encountered were mostly true to life. Killers didn’t come out of the background to add intrigue or drama. The dramas were minor and realistic. That didn’t make them mundane though. We cared enough about the characters that their everyday issues of health scares and co-worker problems became our own.
This tale would easily have made DIK if not for a few quibbles. The first is that the sweetness sometimes goes overboard, especially the situation with Stevie/Stephanie. I saw no real reason for DJ to ever be friends or really anything besides polite with her. Their cordiality seemed a bit saccharine. I wasn’t overly fond of Viv’s storyline. But the real problem lay with DJ. Her over the top reaction to the one night stand issue and her cold behavior to Scott as a result felt very 19th century. Fortunately, while it yanked me out of the novel a little it didn’t destroy my enjoyment of the story as a whole.
This is the perfect end of summer read for contemporary romance or women’s fiction fans. I am delighted to be able to recommend it to our readers.