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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library - Sue Halpern

I was in the mood for a gentle, general fiction story and got one with this book, but for a gentle story it packed a wallop.


Summer Hours at the Robbers Library is a story about three broken people who are thrown together over a summer in the Carnegie library of a dead industrial town.  Sunny is a 16 year old no-schooled daughter of hippies (or as they call themselves 'alternatives') sentenced to a 12 weeks stint at the library after getting caught trying to steal a dictionary from a local bookstore.  Rusty is the enigmatic businessman who suddenly shows up one day and spends ever subsequent day in front of one of the computers for hours at a stretch.   Kit is the reference librarian who starts off coming across as an extreme introvert at best, a future agoraphobic at worst.  She moved to Riverton 4 years previous to the story and her one, over arching goal is to avoid all non-work human interaction.


The story is told over the course of a summer post the global financial disaster, and is interspersed with Kit's therapeutic narrative of her past; a slow building story that starts off feeling oh-so-predictable, but by the end set me back on my heels muttering jesus under my breath.  I was pretty sure I didn't like Kit - or, more accurately, that I respected Kit - until the end.  Then, I understood; I'd have done almost nothing differently, in her shoes.


I liked Sunny and her story felt so very authentic; her ending might have been a little too perfectly tailored, and I think the author could have packed a double wallop had she chose a different path, but I still enjoyed her character.


Rusty felt a little obligatory - probably the least impactful story of the three, but for the time this book was set, his character was representative, and for all that his redemption was a bit too easily found, I still liked him too.  Mostly, I appreciated the author's choice not to go the predictable angst-ridden route.


I started this review thinking "4 stars" but really... that ending.  The author deserves the extra 1/2 star because she led me perfectly, exactly like a well written story should.


The perfect read for a breezy, sunny, lazy day.