cover image Summer Hours at the Robbers Library

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library

Sue Halpern. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-267896-6

Halpern’s clever and touching latest (following A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home) unites a disparate cast of characters who have come to the town library for a variety of reasons. Kit is a reference librarian at the library in Riverton, N.H., a once-booming mill town that has declined since the mills closed. Though residents moved away and shops were shuttered, the library has remained open, and Kit has taken refuge there to escape her irreparably fractured marriage. Kit is mostly a loner who takes solace in books, but she opens up to Sunny, a teen sentenced to community service at the library for stealing a dictionary. Sunny, a bright, inquisitive young woman, makes friends with the regular library patrons and manages to put some cracks in Kit’s carefully erected shell as they spend more time together. Sunny also befriends library patron Rusty, an unemployed former employee of a New York investment firm who has come to town to visit the bank where his mother had a secret savings account. Rusty’s story line gives the novel a light mystery element, but the characters are the highlight here: their relationships are illuminating and evolve throughout, resulting in a crowd-pleasing tale of friendship. (Feb.)