What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.
Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.
In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.
What worked for me (and what didn’t): The Little Library is a fairly quiet book, gentle rather than action-packed and told from the perspective of Elliott Thompson. Elliott has a habit of buying books on Amazon when stressed and given his recent history he’s stressed a lot. He was in a closeted relationship with a professor at his previous university and that guy, it turned out, was embezzling funds. Elliott was accused by association but eventually exonerated – he really didn’t know anything about it. He exited the university and moved back to his home town of Modesto in California, where he teaches online community college courses as an adjunct. His ex is in prison. He is looking for a tenure-track position at a research university but the field is a tough one and his reason for leaving his last job works against him.