It is not the easiest thing to suspend disbelief when a romance deals with an aspect of your life that you have intimate, day-to-day knowledge about. I know more than one lawyer who simply cannot read romances featuring lawyers. Same holds true for people who work in the medical field being unable to read romances featuring doctors and nurses. So you would think that I would have the same issue when it comes to reading books featuring librarian heroines. The answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no. I’ve read romances featuring librarian heroines that made me gnash my teeth in frustration, and yet I’ve read just as many that I’ve enjoyed immensely. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Elizabeth Bevarly took the stereotype of the sheltered, shy librarian and turned it on its ear in The Temptation of Rory Monahan. After receiving complaints about a Cosmopolitan-like magazine, town librarian Miriam Thornbury takes it home to read. She decides that it may be fun to follow some of the advice on getting men to notice you. There is only one man she desperately wants to notice her, local absent-minded professor, Rory Monahan, who despite almost daily visits to the library has yet to look her way. Needless to say, our hero does notice our heroine, and he’s so intrigued he figures it’s time to unravel the mystery of the local librarian.
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss immediately caught my eye in part because of the title – I had to find out what the librarian did! Turns out she falls in love with a rock star. Rachel Robinson is an academic librarian with a secret past that comes back to haunt her, all the while she’s having sparring matches with the rock star hero who has decided to go back to college after his career flames out. I loved the fun banter and I loved the fact that Bliss gave the librarian heroine a past.
Three Little Words by Carrie Alexander is notable for how deftly the author handles the library aspect of the story. Tess Bucek simply finds more enjoyment in fiction than reality. You would too if you lived in Podunk Middle Of Nowhere. Connor Reed, a crime writer, has come to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to lay low. He also thinks it’s high time his grandfather learns to read, which is a bit of family business he’d prefer to keep quiet. For that project, he enlists the heroine’s help. Not all library jobs are the same. Doing what Tess does, working in a small, rural community, is a completely different animal than a librarian who works in a large, urban area. Alexander nails the job, and uses it as a back-drop of a lovely romance.
In a former life Portia Da Costa was a librarian and it shows in her fun erotic romance, In Too Deep. So often authors use the profession to create caricatured sheltered and naïve heroines. Da Costa gives Gwendolyne Price a life, although it’s one that has settled into routine. Divorced, her life consists of work and going home. That is until one day she discovers a rather steamy letter from a secret admirer in the library’s suggestion box. Suddenly Gwendolyne’s got a spring in her step, and she’s set her sights on the hero, who she mentally refers to as Professor Hottie. Gwen is what I refer to as a Best Friend Heroine. If she existed in real life, I would want to be friends with her. She’s fun, smart, and adventurous, with just the right touch of vulnerability. Da Costa is at her best when she writes playful, and this story is flat-out fun.
As good as those books are, I’m saving the best for last. Not only does Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke feature my all-time favorite librarian heroine, it is my favorite romance novel of all time. In 1905 Georgia, being a divorced woman automatically means you’re a whore. When that “whore” is also the town librarian, it makes for interesting gossip. Convinced her marriage failed because of the existence of the local brothel, Lily Morgan is determined to shut it down. Some very powerful men do not want to see that happen, so they hire Daniel Walker to put Lily in her place. The fly in the ointment is that Daniel represented Lily’s ex-husband in the divorce and dragged her name so far through the mud that her reputation is likely never to recover. Not only is Lily smart and determined, behind closed doors she is achingly vulnerable. Sparring with Daniel can leave her wounded, but she’s not the sort of woman who will meekly lie down to die. For his part, Daniel begins questioning what he thinks he knows about Lily as a person. A stunning romance and the best example of an adversarial, bantering romantic couple I can think of. Gurhke did it so right; I’m more than partially convinced that no other author should even try.
The list of romance novel librarian heroines is a long one, and unlikely to ever stop growing. After all, writers, readers and librarians all share the common love of the written word. It is the glue that holds us together, and I think it’s why so many of us love to read about librarian characters. This is just a small list of the books I have enjoyed. What titles would you include?
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.