Sep 4 2012 11:14am

Bookshelf Babes and Hardcover Heroes: Favorite Librarians in Romance

The Temptation of Rory Monahan by Elizabeth BevarlyIt 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 BlissWhat 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 Too Deep by Portia Da CostaIn 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.

Breathless by Laura Lee GuhrkeAs 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.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
These all look fun! I think one of Linda Howard's heroines is a librarian, as well.

This post also got me wondering: are there any librarian heroes out there? I'd love to see that too.
Carmen Pinzon
2. bungluna
So what if my reading list approaches infinity? I just had to add some of these that I hadn't read already to it. Good post!
Rakisha Kearns-White
3. BrooklynShoeBabe
Being a public librarian, I'm also drawn to romance novels with the librarian as a hero. By the end of What the Librarian Did, I wanted to slash my wrists because the hero and heroine had such trust issues and never gave each other the benefit of the doubt. Talk about jumping the gun! I wanted to toss that book across the room, but the library parts were accurate. :-)

I read In Too Deep but I don't remember too much about it, which is good. If I remember too much, it probably means it was bad!

My favorite librarian romance was Vegas Two Step by Liz Talley.
A post-makeover vacation fling. That's all Nellie Tucker wants from Jack Darby. After all, a librarian from a small Texas community doesn't have a lot in common with a cool business guy like Jack. Sure, their week in Las Vegas is wonderful, but Nellie has her real life to get back to.
4. donnarb60
Linda Howard's OPEN SEASON , featuring Daisy Minor as the small-town librarian/ugly duckling, that transforms into a lovely swan, is my all-time favorite. The chemistry between she & the local sheriff is HOT!, and Linda Howard 's trademark humor runs all through their "courtship". I love her!
Wendy the Super Librarian
5. SuperWendy
Redline: I get that question a lot. The only librarian hero that comes to mind is in Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz - an erotic short story. Alas, I haven't read it yet, so can't give you my impression on it!

Bungluna: And these are just some that I read and enjoyed! So many librarian heroines, not enough time!

Brooklyn: I hear you on the trust issues re: What the Librarian Did. That was actually my biggest caveat with that story, but it ended up working for me as a whole. I need to read that Liz Talley book still! Almost positive I have a copy of it lying around here somewhere....

Donnarb60: I KNEW someone would mention Open Season, so I didn't feel too guilty about not including it :-) Howard is one of those authors that I just don't seem to click with. I'm not sure why? It's an elusive "voice" thing I suspect.....
Lege Artis
6. LegeArtis
I read Open Season by Linda Howard and Breathless (loved it)...
There is short story by Courtney Milan- This Wicked Gift and it has librarian heroine. It was awesome. I love all Milan's "shorties" and this one was great 'cause hero is not some nobleman, it's hot working class guy.
Jennifer Proffitt
7. JenniferProffitt
I was also librarian, so thanks for all the fun reads! It's such a fun theme and I don't see it as often as I would like ;)

Wanting What You Get by Kathy Love has always been a personal favorite of mine. It plays into another favorite trope of the overweight heroine. Okay, it plays into a lot of tropes since the hero is also the alcoholic mayor of the town...and well, think of another trope and it's probably in there. I love it though.
marion bergner
8. ducky
Linda Howard's Open Season and her librarian Daisy is a favorite of mine. I like to reread this book on a regular basis. Actually this post is making me want to reread it now...
9. carmenlire
a lot of Cathie Linz's books feature librarians, and I really love those books. a few that come right to mind are Smart Girls Think Twice and Good girls Don't
Wendy the Super Librarian
10. SuperWendy
LegeArtis: To this day I'm not sure what it is about Breathless that I love so much. Is it the story? The writing? Or the fact that it had a wonderful librarian heroine? Probably a bit of all of the above.

Jennifer: I remember when that trilogy was first published - Wanting What You Get, at the time, seemed to be the stand-out favorite for a lot of readers.

Ducky: Writing up this post made me want to do a lot of rereading! LOL

Carmenlire: Linz is a librarian, although not sure if she still has her day job or not. Yeah, she's written bunches of librarians, dating back to her category romance days. She even used to be the library liasion for RWA and planned MANY a Librarians Day event at the annual conference....
Alexandra W
11. parasolprotectorate
@Wendy: Daniel in Tiffany Reisz's Seven Day Loan is a librarian. There's a very hot scene in his home library while he and Eleanor are converting Library of Congress to Dewey ...

Sophie in Bella Andre's I Only Have Eyes for You is a librarian. There's not much focus on her job, but her love for reading is clear.

Dana Steele in Nora Roberts' Key of Knowledge is a librarian (because there had to be at least one!). I've only just started the series and haven't got to Dana's book yet, but it's promising
12. K Birch
I really loved Bella Andre's I Only Have Eyes for You. Sophie is a librarian and known to her friends and family as Nice, her twin sister is known as Naughty. Sophie has been in love with her older brothers' best friend Jake forever and decides that it is finally time for him to stop seeing her as Nice. It is so very good. I will definiely have to check out the selections listed here.
Joni Bodart
13. JRB
Morgan Ashbury has a librarian hero, head of a university library and his heroine is a sexy construction worker. Great story, and it really turns the stereotype on its ear!!
15. jaodko30
Different press I know, but Molly Harper's Jane Jameson series I love.
16. Wendy W Durden
Ok tooting the horn of a fave author: "Timeless Desire" by Gwyn Cready has Panna the librarian as the heroine, and much of the action/mystery involves her library. Kathy Love's book was a good one, and one of a trilogy so that made it better. Mindy Klasky has her witchy librarian Jane Madison in the "Girl's Guide to Witchcraft" series. The librarian aspect gives the heroine a specific bent that follows into the rest of her character. And I just read a historical that had the heroine cataloguing a library as part of her "disguise" but was an intrinsic part of her personality: "An Unsuitable Bride" by Jane Feather. So there's a few more out there to ponder!
Wendy the Super Librarian
17. SuperWendy
Keep those suggestions coming! I keep a list of "librarians in romance novels" - and have been cross-checking titles. Turns out, I didn't know about the Jane Feather historical! Adding that to my list.....
18. Alie
Open Season is my fave too :) I typically don't read librarian romances either because I work in libraries too, but sometimes you just can't resist (for me especially if it's Linda Howard).
Cerese Sanborn
19. flowerpower
C.J.'s Fate by Kay Hooper is a great book about a librarian, but the setting isn't the library.
Excerpt from Chapter One:
"I'm not a genius, Tami," C.J. protested, her quiet voice mild but very slightly

"Lord knows that just looking at you no one would take you for
a brain," Jan said. "You're no bigger than a pixie, and those ridiculous yellow
eyes make you look like a bewildered kitten!"

"It's disgusting!" Tami
chimed in, her voice lifting in mock outrage. "All the men cluster around you
like bees at a honey pot, until you utterly dumbfound them by saying very
seriously that Charlemagne was a terrific king--or whatever he was--and that the
Romans were great people in spite of the orgies."

C.J. sighed again as
her friends' laughter attacked her ears from both sides. They meant well--they
really did. But since she had spent both school days and vacations with them all
through the years, these kinds of comments were beginning to grow stale.
20. dindongbell
Thanks for the recs! I've read two so far, and while The Temptation of Rory Monahan wasn't a big hit for me, I ended up liking Open Season very much. I've bought most of the other titles and will be reading more. :D

I also remember reading a Susan Mallery recently, about a heroine named Annabelle ... it was my first Fool's Gold read, it's called Summer Nights, and I thought it was a pretty cute contemporary. I really liked the whole 'raising money for a bookmobile' goal the heroine had (and of course, the grand gesture! Heh.)
21. Janga
I love Liz Bevarly's Monahans. I'm glad to see that one on the list.

It's hardly surprising that Jayne Ann Krentz has written several books with librarian heroines. I can think of at least three: an aura-reading librarian in Running Hot, an academic librarian in Smoke in Mirrors, and librarian-turned businesswoman in Perfect Partners.

The heroine of Susan Wiggs's Lakeshore Christmas is a librarian, as is the heroine of JoAnn Ross's Blue Bayou and the heroine of a classic Loveswept, Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis. The most unusual may be the librarian heroine in Betina Krahn's adventure-filled historical romance, The Book of the Seven Delights.
Wendy the Super Librarian
22. SuperWendy
Alie: It's a fairly even split for me. I figure I loathe just as many librarian romances as I like :-)

Did not know about the Kay Hooper book! Thanks flowerpower!

DinDongBell: The librarian "stuff" in that Mallery book is quite good too. Like the Carrie Alexander book I mentioned in the post, I thought she got the "feel" of being a small town librarian right.

Janga: I really loved that era in the Desire line - to the point where it used to be my favorite category romance line, period.
23. Jessica R
I love Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper. It is a about an unemployed childrens librarian who gets turned into a vampire after she was mistaken for a deer and shot.
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