Elliott is back in the small California town where he grew up. He’s a historian and was a professor on a tenure track until a scandal involving his ex sent his career off track. Elliott was cleared of any wrong doing, but the university thought it was best to part ways. He now teaches online classes from home and while he’s grateful to have a job, he misses the classroom. Elliott’s attempts at finding a new position at a university have all had the same results, for once anyone Googles his name, the interview is over. His only happy place is when he fills up his online shopping cart with books and places his order. However, Elliott is quickly running out of space.
Simon no longer has his job as a policeman either thanks to a bullet that damaged his knee. He’s reassessing his life and his career, and contemplating how to finally come out to his conservative family. His rigorous physical therapy involves daily walks, and this is where he first meets Elliott.
When Elliott decides it’s time to declutter his home and manage his ever-growing book collection, he creates a small neighborhood library that catches on quickly. The project puts him in Simon’s path once again and the two hit it off immediately. But, Elliott has no interest in staying in the closet with Simon and his career track might see him moving in the near future. However, he just may find something in his small community that he didn’t even know he needed, with Simon being at the top of that list.
Kim Fielding writes a romance with The Little Library, but she also writes about finding community as well as an ode to the love of books. Elliott loves books, paperbacks specifically, and after his life was derailed, placing an order for books offers a calming, zen-like experience for him. Elliott is trying to rebuild his life after his ex was involved in a criminal scandal that cast a shadow over Elliott as well. Elliott is a little depressed and while he finds some peace in his books, they are starting to take over. Putting a community library outside of his house puts him in closer contact with Simon.
Simon is also finding his feet again after his career as a policeman was taken off track by a bullet. His daily walks through the neighborhood land him at Elliott’s front door. There is an instant connection between the men and Simon wants to pursue so much more with Elliott, but Simon is in the closet and Elliot’s job search has the potential to have him relocating.
Their first date is an awkward, entertaining mess as both Simon and Elliott are crazy nervous. It’s to Fielding’s credit that she keeps the antics humorous without letting them sway over to embarrassment for either character. The men’s relationship evolves easily and quickly as they know they want each other in their lives. Their relationship and the book itself is fairly angst-free, even with Simon being afraid to come out to his conservative family, Elliott’s job issues, as well as a homophobic neighbor constantly up in Elliott’s business. That may have been a bit of a hindrance for me as when I would put the book down, there was no real driving force to continue on. The writing is good and the ending is complete, but Simon’s character, as well as that pull from the story overall, made things slightly lacking for me and this falls into the category of personal preference.
The Little Library offers some entertaining moments, some romance, and a story of finding your space and finding your place in the world.