Kellison's Reviews > What the Librarian Did

What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
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's review
Jan 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, re-readable

This is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone who thinks Harlequin books are poorly written bodice rippers. Karina Bliss knows how to write an enjoyable, grown-up love story.

What the Librarian Did is the story of Devin and Rachel--a former rock star and a librarian, respectively. Devin, 34, has given up his life as a rock star after almost drinking himself to death (quite literally, he has almost killed his liver). He decides to go to university in his nation of birth, New Zealand, and the university he chose just happens to be the one at which Rachel is the librarian. Rachel, for her part, is 34, wears vintage clothing, has just turned down a tepid marriage proposal (her second such proposal, apparently), and gives as good as she gets.

The relationship between Devin and Rachel is nice to see develop, as they both go into their friendship with preconceived notions about the other, and must continually alter how they view one another. Also, the fact that they first build a kind of friendship was nice, instead of them jumping straight into bed with one another. Early on, Devin tags Rachel with the nickname "Heartbreaker"--a gentle mocking name poking fun at something she says when Paul, her jilted not-quite-fiance, stumbles into the library drunk and ranting. Soon, though, the facetious nickname has become a pet name. It is cute to see the times where Rachel surprises Devin by seeing through his BS or when Devin is supportive of Rachel's decisions even though he doesn't always agree with her. I also like how, even when he is angry at Rachel, and hurt, he is still there for her when she needs him.

There is also a subplot (although at times it seemed more like the main plot) involving Mark, a university freshman trying to locate his birth mother who befriends Devin. He also happens to be Rachel's son, and you learn a lot about Rachel as a character through this subplot, though I feel like you probably could have learned even more if the author had been given free reign. Why did she give up her baby? Why is she estranged from her mother? Why is she so fiercely independent? Why does she build so many walls between herself and love? These questions get answered to a degree, but there could have been a much deeper examination of Rachel's past had time allowed.

For his part, Devin also has issues with his older brother and former band mate, Zander. It turns out, Zander was not paying Devin the royalties he deserved on the songs he co-wrote. He has kept this quiet, though, giving his brother plenty of opportunities to try to make things right, and not wanting to put their mother in the middle of a legal battle. His worry for his mom, who recently had a heart attack, is truly heart warming, too.

Overall, this was a very lovely book full of great characters, great dialogue, and an entertaining love story. What stopped it from being five stars was the fact that the ending felt rushed and the page limit really tied the hands of the author. The page limit for the book did limit what could have been wonderful character development, and caused the relationships to be a bit rushed. Plus, you skip a big chunk of time in which Devin and Rachel are working on their relationship near the end...I would have loved to see them working things out.

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