Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Format: eARC, 432 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon
Meet Dorothy Jarrow: devotedly unsexy librarian
Buttoned-up book lover DJ is all sensible shoes, drab skirts and studious glasses. After an ill-advised spring-break-fueled fling left her mortified, she's committed to her prim and proper look. When she's hired by a rural library in middle-of-nowhere Kansas, she finally has the lifestyle to match-and she can't wait to get her admin on.
But it's clear from day one that the small-town library is more interested in circulating rumors than books. DJ has to organize her unloved library, win over oddball employees and avoid her flamboyant landlady's attempts to set her up with the town pharmacist. Especially that last part-because it turns out handsome Scott Sanderson is her old vacation fling! She is not sure whether to be relieved or offended when he doesn't seem to recognize her. But with every meeting, DJ finds herself secretly wondering what it would be like to take off her glasses, unpin her bun and reveal the inner vixen she's been hiding from everyone-including herself.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it was the cover that first drew my interest to this book when I saw it on NetGalley. Pamela Morsi was a brand new author to me and this isn’t necessarily the type of book I would be quick to choose off the shelves ordinarily. But, the cover. It grabbed me and held on and I knew I had to read it. And boy, I’m glad I did!
“Through the windshield of her aging Chevy hatchback, Dorothy gazed across the yellow poppy fields towards the Emerald City. Of course, the poppy fields were more accurately described as “amber waves of grain” and the visible tower on the distant horizon was a grain elevator rather than a wizard’s dwelling, but she couldn’t have felt more caught up in an unlikely fantasy. She was eager, excited, out of her comfort zone.”
Dorothy “D.J.” Jarrow was about to make her new home in Verdant, Kansas. Verdant is a small farm town where everyone knows everyone’s everything. Outsiders aren’t always welcomed immediately. But once they are, it’s like they’ve always been there. This is evident in D.J.’s story.
“That didn’t feel like a first kiss.”
Danger alerts finally sounded in D.J.’s brain. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“I feel like I’ve kissed you a million times and it was always like that.”
The first words that come to mind to describe D.J. are conservative, restrained, sedate, and stuffy. On the surface, she seems to be the stereotypical librarian. But, as we soon learn, there is a lot more to D.J. than meets the eye. Underneath her restrained exterior, she’s sexy and passionate. She’s also kind and accepting. She recognizes the differences in others without judging them for those differences. D.J. is the type of character I identify with and cheer on throughout a book.
“It’s called the moon illusion. For a million years people thought that it was magnified somehow, that it was really bigger looking on the horizon than in the sky. We think the moon looks larger, but it’s not. It’s an optical illusion. It’s just how we see things. Not as ordinary as they are, but as grand as we imagine them to be.”
Scott Sanderson, the small-town pharmacist, was a bit of an enigma to me. As is typical of most romance book love interests, he was hot and built. He was also intelligent and kind. He was looking for passion. Scott was haunted nightly by lusty dreams of a woman he can’t identify. As time goes on, he starts associating D.J. with his “Sparkle” from spring break years back. Of course, they’re one and the same, so that might have something to do with it. 🙂 Despite all their chemistry, it takes a painfully long time for Scott to realize D.J. is, in fact, his “Sparkle.”
“Dating in Verdant is like a spectator sport. The only thing that draws a bigger or more loyal audience is the high school basketball team. So if Scott had dated anyone, I would know it.”
This book was filled with rich characters. Suzy is the stereotypical small-town gossip. She often speaks before she thinks. She’s blunt. She’s not a bad person; she just doesn’t have a filter. James was a puzzle. I felt fondly for him, even if I didn’t fully understand him. Scott’s mom, Viv Sanderson, was quite a character. She was meddlesome. But, she truly had everyone’s best interests at heart. I loved reading about her plans and the steps she took to make sure things turned out as she wanted.
“I love how, except for an occasional shadow on the horizon, or the flash of one vehicle upon another, you don’t really see the big machines, just the lights on the path in front of them cutting the wheat.”
“That’s probably a great metaphor for the people in Verdant,” he said. “It’s easy to see what we do every day. What we manage to get done. But when it comes to who we actually are and what kind of loads we’re lugging around, that’s not so visible.”
If you’re looking for a sweet little read with a happily ever after, pick this one up. It had some unexpected depth to go along with the rich characters and charming story. I think it painted a very accurate picture of life in a small farm town. D.J. might have been an outsider when the book started, but she was very much accepted by the town and its people by the end. Verdant embodies the best of everything great about a small town. The way the residents banded together to help her with the library warmed my heart. It truly epitomized the small-town spirit you might not recognize or appreciate if you never lived in one. I’m lucky to be able to say I did. Even though I live (kind of) in the big city now, I miss that small-town attitude and spirit at times. I know the best of both worlds.
I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.