Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mr. Chef & Ms. Librarian - by Melissa Yi

Can a white-bread librarian on the rebound find true love with a Pakistani chef who promised his parents he'd find himself a nice Muslim girl?

Ivy Appleford is new to her job as a public librarian, as well as new in town and has recently been dumped by her boyfriend. She signs up for some cooking classes and falls for the sexy chef/instructor, Tariq, who is equally taken with her. It doesn't take long for the two to become swept up in a hot, and spicy romance. True to romance novel genre there are some ups and downs in the relationship, but all is well in the end.

The author played around a bit with some librarian stereotypes and fantasies. Even as Ivy notes that being a librarian no one ever expected her to be "a wild party" readers see someone who finds it thrilling to have sex outside, where anyone could have come by, and when Ivy surprises Tariq by deftly opening a condom and sliding it down on him she simply shrugs and says "I should be good at this stuff. I'm a librarian." Neither does she hesitate when her swarthy lover suggests that they have sex on the circulation desk. When Tariq shows up unannounced at Ivy's house late one night and sees her in red flannel pajamas for the first time, his mind, of course, goes right to the uptight librarian fantasy.
He grinned. "You look adorable." To his surprise, he meant it. The tortoiseshell glasses reminded him of a cat. Or, better yet, the Tina Fey, take off your glasses and let down your hair, buttoned-up sexiness."
Ivy's ex-boyfriend, Stephen, is a professor, and apparently she was not completely at ease with him because of it. With Tariq
She didn't have to prove that librarians were as smart as academics. She didn't have to pretend to like his friends. She could just hang out.
I thought about this passage a lot, not so much because I think I need to prove anything to my professor husband (he knows how smart I am, after all) but more because I am an academic librarian. I suppose that I sometimes feel that I have to prove that I'm as smart as my colleagues. This can be especially frustrating when I'm dealing with faculty members (or administrators) who may not, in fact, be as smart as I am! Librarians do know everything, after all.

Early in their relationship, when Ivy isn't so sure she should be getting involved with anyone, she tells Tariq that what she needs is more of a friend "an avuncular type". She specifically suggests that my favorite fictitious librarian - Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be a good person for her "someone who won't take advantage of me - or tempt me." Really, Giles wouldn't tempt her? Has she not seen the show, especially the episode called "Band Candy"?!

I must say that Ivy is as much of a multi-dimensional character as one can expect in a romance novel. She has a variety of interests, and cares about her community, plus she is smart, sexy, and witty. This was a fun read for Read-a-Romance month.

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