Wednesday, June 1, 2005

The Masquerading Librarian

Wrapped up Amber By Night (Silhouette Desire 1495) by Sharon Sala on my lunch break yesterday and am still pondering my enjoyment of it.

Technically this book should have insulted my intelligence - but dang if I didn't enjoy parts of it. Let me explain:

The heroine is a frumpy, dumpy librarian by day (the clincher being she lives with two elderly, spinster aunts) and by night she's a sexy cocktail waitress. The hero is the town bad boy who the heroine has pined after for years - but as the dumpy librarian he doesn't know she exists. But as va-va-va-voom waitress, his tongue is dragging on the floor and he's thinking unpure thoughts.

Is it any wonder that I might be insulted by this? The heroine has no life. She feels obligated to her aunts, so she dresses like a spinster (I swear to you, she wears "shirtwaists"). So instead of having her own life, she looses her identity altogether.

So what works about this story? Well the heroine originally takes the job of cocktail waitress to save up money to buy a car. That's right - her librarian job pays her dick. I could relate to this in a big way - as can many underpaid librarians.

Keep in mind that librarians have Master's degrees. That's right - many of us carry at least 2 degrees (if not more in the academic field), and have the student loans to prove it. Yet, I often see jobs like the following: Library Director wanted. MLS degree preferred. 5+ years experience. $28,000-$36,000.

How's that for insulting?

So it's totally plausible that the poor heroine would need to take a second job to buy a car - especially if her meager salary was helping to support a family of 3 (her and the 2 aunts).

Also, the hero finds out rather quickly that the heroine is leading a double-life, so he plays along. It's actually rather fun.

Will I read Sala again? Sure. I have several of her romantic suspense titles in the TBR. Am I still looking for a convincing librarian heroine in series romance? Yep.


Lilith Saintcrow said...

Give a poor romance writer a clue here. If you were to read about a librarian in a series romance or non-series romance, what would you like us to accent? What things would you like to see in a librarian romance?

David said...

Sounds kind of cliche. Like the sitcom where no one notices the tomboy, and suddenly she's in a dress and everyone wants her, like they really didn't know.

Wendy said...

I want a librarian heroine who acts like a real person. She has a life. She has had sex and actually enjoys it. She is not dead below the waist. I don't care if she's a fashionista - but she shouldn't wear shapeless burlap. Hell, a simple blouse and slacks would be fine by me.

She has friends, she has family she cares about, and she knows how to have a good time. She's also smart and funny. Charming all the way around.

And David - yes, it's very much a cliche. A huge, insulting cliche.

Lilith Saintcrow said...

Okay, Wendy. I'll write you a librarian romance. :) Drop me an email and tell me what you want in it. It'll have to have a paranormal element and I may not get to it for a good six months to a year (other books to write) but hell, I'd love to make ya happy.

Bronwyn Parry said...

I have a librarian heroine in a (not yet finished) novella. I have to confess after reading your blog these past few weeks, I often wonder what you'd think of her! I think I've avoided the cliches, although she is quiet and reserved. She has a lot of inner strength, and doesn't run away from life, making herself go out and do things despite her shyness and reserve (for which there is a reason). She's pretty, and wears simple but attractive clothes - and the hero has been head over heels for her for years. (He's a tough, larrikin ex-prizefighter...)

I'll let you know when it's finished ;-)

Wendy said...

Head over heels for years? I like the sound of that already.

And quiet, shy, reserved librarian heroines are fine - just as long as they have a life :)

Tara Marie said...

Librarian pay is beyond insulting.

I hate to admit the librarian cliche is a favorite (loved Linda Howard's Open Season.)

Beth said...

Try: Librarian'S Secret Wish (Silhouette Romance, 1473) by Carol Grace

I thought it was pretty good.

I work in a library myself. (an aide)

anne said...

Seriously - just the other day I saw an ad for a law librarian. They wanted an MLS *and* JD. Starting salary: $36k. Kind of makes me wonder why I bothered with school.

And I totally agree on your wishlist for librarian heroines. A life please, and colored underwear - is that so much to ask???

Wendy said...

OMG - and a JD?!?!?!?! 36K?!?!?!?! I wouldn't have applied for the job - I just would have written a scathing letter ;)

Maggie M. said...

Lilith & Bron:
I want a librarian that is strong, sexy, confident, knows what she wants, and is not a prude when it comes to sex!