cover image The Lending Library

The Lending Library

Aliza Fogelson. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paperback (300p) ISBN 978-1-5039-0401-9

Fogelson pairs a passionate bibliophile with a handsome construction worker and achieves maximum charm in her quirky and sweet debut. After frustrated painter Dodie Fairisle leaves New York City for fictional Connecticut suburb Chatsworth to teach art in an elementary school, the Chatsworth library becomes her refuge. Dodie is a next-level booklover (Fogelson’s first line, “I was sniffing glue again,” refers to Dodie’s intimacy with the “heady scent” of a spine), and after asbestos is discovered in the library and it’s forced to close, she responds by setting up a makeshift lending library in the sunroom of her house. It immediately becomes a community draw and leads to a relationship with construction worker Shep Jamison. The new couple abstractly discuss their feelings about having children, but when they have a sudden opportunity to adopt, Shep gets cold feet. Fogelson strikes the perfect balance with Dodie, making her charming and vulnerable, and Dodie’s love for books and passion for connecting them with readers is strongly felt. Supporting characters such as Dodie’s old art school friend and a book-loving child amplify the appeal. This should be catnip for book clubs. (June)