The Little Library
Author: Kim Fielding
Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.
In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.
Review: I appreciated how realistic this story seemed. So many romances are about two super-hot main characters, but this one is about a somewhat gangly (but still lean and hot, don’t get me wrong) runner-slash-book hoarder and a short, muscular ex-cop with a knee injury and some extra pudge around his middle. Elliot and Simon are both flawed, which makes them much more real and accessible. Elliot has his horrible past relationship and his book hoarding tendencies, while Simon has his bum knee and hasn’t come out to his family yet, and they both are trying to figure out what to do with their futures now that their past plans have been smashed to smithereens. Their first dates are awkward and their sex is sometimes bumbling and messy (and not in the sexy-messy way, but in a much more normal every day sort of way). It’s like instead of reading some glossy highly-idealized romance with a shirtless Fabio on the cover, you’re reading the story of your neighbor down the street. It’s fantastic and a really refreshing point of view.
I love that Elliot builds his little neighborhood library to help with his book hoarding tendencies, and that the start to find ways to deal with his pain and his problems besides buying more books. As something of a book hoarder myself, and someone who finds comfort in buying more books even though my physical TBR bookshelf is taking over my house (to say nothing of the books I’ve actually read, and let’s not even think about the virtual mountains of ebooks…) I really connected to Elliot. And as a passionate reader, I felt so touched and proud right along with him when people showed such an active interest in his little library and his books. As part of the bookish community, I also know this connection with other people who love books as much as I do, and how such an introverted hobby can be turned into something so wonderful to connect with other like-minded people. I also felt heartbroken with Elliot when someone vandalizes his library, and had a stupid smile on my face at the resolution of this story. I became so emotionally invested in the lives of these people who could totally be my neighbors (if, y’know, they didn’t live in California and I lived half the country away in Minnesota, not to mention that they’re fictional… but that’s just semantics).
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.