What the Librarian Did
Although there are few romances I’ve come across with a celebrity as a leading man, I find the premise an attractive one. Do I want to read about an egomaniac who is intent on being famous? Not really. But give me a male celebrity retiring from the game and I’m willing to give it a try.
Devin Freedman is a rock star – big time. Joining his brother’s group at the age of 16, the band has enjoyed a 17-year ride of pure success and glamour. Devin’s lived the life of a famous rocker complete with drugs and alcohol, but health issues have recently forced him to quit the game. After treatment for alcohol addiction, Devin moved back to New Zealand to be near his ailing mother. As he examines his life, Devin decides it’s time to take his education seriously and enrolls in the local college.
Rachel Robinson is an extremely efficient college librarian and knows she’s damn good at it too. Control is important to the fastidious Rachel both at work and off, but under her prim and proper façade lays a woman who not only enjoys life, but who has also left behind a string of boyfriends.
The college’s library acts as center stage for this romance since new student Devin often lands there for one reason or another. He can’t quite decide what he thinks about the smartass librarian who doesn’t even know who he is or really care once she discovers he’s some sort of star. All Rachel can see is an arrogant man too accustomed to the world adjusting to fit his needs. After all, what 30+ year-old man wearing purple boots, slashed jeans, and a tight T-shirt expects to be taken seriously at school? And what about that earring, signet ring, and dragon tattoo curling up the length of his arm? It all screams bad boy to Rachel, but to Devin, whose career had depended on showmanship, his dress seems rather mild and he thinks he is dressing down.
Observing a drunk man making a spectacle of himself one day in the library over Rachel’s rejection of his marriage proposal, Devin steps in and tips the man over his shoulder and hauls him out. Running after the pair, Rachel weakly takes up for the man as she somberly tells Devin, “He’s not the first man I’ve let down. I…I’m a heartbreaker.” Having a hard time seeing the strait-laced woman as a heartbreaker, Devin, nonetheless, decides it’s a good nickname for her. He finds it quite entertaining to constantly rib Rachel and an uneasy friendship begins between the two.
Karina Bliss effectively portrays Devin as a sympathetic character who is earnestly attempting to make some positive changes in his life. He knows he’s been spoiled by his star-studded background but earnestly seeks a normal lifestyle. The reader is privy to a good deal of Devin’s thoughts and clearly sees his struggle to make the right choices to be an everyday type of guy.
Rachel has a very troubling incident in her past, but her angst is justified and not overplayed in the least. But there’s also a lighter side to Rachel and, even though she is a bit too prickly at times for my taste, she is a fair-minded heroine and an even match for Devin.
The age-old truism that opposites attract is well played here, albeit a bit of a stretch that a vastly popular rock star would settle down in a small community with a local woman. The chemistry between Devin and Rachel is convincing and Devin definitely burns up the pages as a sexy man who retains enough of the bad boy to give the story an extra dash of fantasy.
A strong secondary character is an 18 year-old student who Devin befriends. He’s a budding musician who has a mission beyond a mere education and the manner in which he links Devin and Rachel together is a major part of the story.
Serious at times, What the Librarian Did tends more toward the humorous side with laugh out loud moments. Add to that a good amount of dialogue between the leads (always an important factor for me in grading) and this is one satisfying romance wherein opposites make a very effective whole.