Title: Love Overdue
MEET DOROTHY JARROW: DEVOTEDLY UNSEXY LIBRARIANButtoned-up book lover DJ is all sensible shoes, drab skirts and studious glasses. After an ill-advised spring-break-fueled fling left her mortified, she’s committed to her prim and proper look. When she’s hired by a rural library in middle-of-nowhere Kansas, she finally has the lifestyle to match-and she can’t wait to get her admin on. But it’s clear from day one that the small-town library is more interested in circulating rumors than books.
DJ has to organize her unloved library, win over oddball employees and avoid her flamboyant landlady’s attempts to set her up with the town pharmacist. Especially that last part-because it turns out handsome Scott Sanderson is her old vacation fling! She is not sure whether to be relieved or offended when he doesn’t seem to recognize her. But with every meeting, DJ finds herself secretly wondering what it would be like to take off her glasses, unpin her bun and reveal the inner vixen she’s been hiding from everyone-including herself.
Look, I’m a sucker for books about librarians and booksellers. Let’s just be up front about that. Clean-cut, boy-next-door, Captain-America-esque love interest? Check. Throw in a meddling but sweet, Betty-White-type mom with a sense of humor? Dude, I’m already on page 30. Did I mention the cute dog? Melt.
It’s been a while since I have read a romance that both tickled my funny bone and made some other parts of me pleasantly tingly too. (My heart, you guys; get your minds out of the gutter!) Love Overdue had just the right balance of silly and serious. Maybe I was a bit delirious from the sleep deprivation, but I was actually laughing out loud at some of the jokes. I am lucky the hubs is a heavy sleeper.
It’s not without its problems, most prominently some very guessable cases of mistaken identity combined with a shaky premise (DJ overcompensating for a one-night-stand she had years ago). I would have rolled my eyes every time a certain item, a tacky belly chain (which you’ll read about pretty early on, so don’t worry) came up, but I was too busy trying to finish my book before I had to get up for work in the morning.
Meanwhile, Morsi manages to wend all kinds of issues through the plot holes and shore it all up with sensible yet emotional topics: small town dynamics, gender issues, elder psychology, and sexual politics. Tongue-in-cheek chapter headings aside (they are all labeled with a relevant Dewey Decimal number) this book was as informative as it was entertaining! I learned about wheat harvesting, lunar illusions, first aid, you name it. Mixed reactions to Asperger’s, PTSD, homosexuality/gay marriage, infidelity, suicide, and simple orneriness ground this book firmly in reality.
I love that the author writes about just plain old everyday folks, but manages to make even the secondary and tertiary characters memorable and relevant. Her motifs might seem quaint and a little too perfect for some readers, but for me the town of Verdant felt charming, nostalgic, and could I please move there and live in the library forever? She also manages to write dreams that both make sense, reveal various characters’ true feelings and worries, as well as occasionally steam up the windows. That’s some serious range in her writerly repertoire.
Scott and DJ’s chemistry hit just the right spot between fear, resistance, and devil-may-care. My one reason for not giving this a full five star rating is that the steam factor in this novel was set to a sedate medium-low! Still, I’d be more than happy to read any more book/smalltown-themed fiction this author has to offer. Her voice is pleasantly readable and her story well-crafted. And I can be pleasantly surprised if I come across a story where she’s really turned up the heat. One can dream.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.