Friday, June 17, 2022

Book Review: Scotsman in the Stacks

By Sara Steven

Paige wants two things: to land a full time librarian job and find the man of her dreams. On the cusp of thirty, she finds herself suddenly single and working part-time in a Michigan library. A handsome patron with a delicious accent appears at the reference desk, inadvertently sparking an idea that might help her land the promotion she so desperately needs. But that's not the only thing he sparks.

James is in town from Glasgow, Scotland, on a summer artist residency. Luckily, the trip got him away from the pressure he feels to take over his uncle's river tour business. He only wanted to clear his head and make his art in peace, but he wasn't counting on finding an attractive librarian to fill his days.

With only eight weeks before James goes home to Scotland, Paige knows she should protect her heart. After all, she already wasted years with her commitment-phobe ex. But the more she gets to know James, the less she can stick to her plan to just be friends. Is she just wasting her time again, or can they bridge the ocean between them to find a happily ever after of their own? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

There were two important relationships within Scotsman in the Stacks: the one between Paige and James, and the one between Paige and her best friend, Kayla. The best friend relationship is a focal point, because it serves as a major catalyst for the decisions Paige makes when it comes to James. 

Given her recent break-up, Paige wants to be careful. While it would be nice to find a man she can develop the perfect relationship with–the kind Kayla has with her husband, Eric–Paige still feels as though it’s best to put her guard up, particularly where James is concerned. He might check off a lot of her boxes, but given he’s only in town for a short time, she doesn’t feel it would be practical to allow herself to fall for him. 

Yet, what she wants to do is best in theory and really hard to put into practice. The way she feels about James is a total contradiction to what her brain tells her to do, and it’s obvious the chemistry between them is a two-way street. I thought the author did a great job of highlighting that; the hesitant, careful steps that both characters take towards one another, almost shy and awkward, much like you’d expect from the newness of potential love, with a gradual progression into trust and allowing those walls to come down. But when tragedy strikes, leaving uncertainty, Paige wonders if the choices she’s been making have been the right ones or if she’s acted too impulsively, with the potential for heartbreak.

I really liked this couple. From the get go, I could appreciate their sweet budding relationship, and I liked how Kayla rooted for them, too, which attributed to Paige’s decisions when it came to her own matters of the heart. And while I also appreciated the conversation, there were some tough moments when reading through James’s dialogue. Given he’s from Scotland, he had a Scottish dialect to him, but it didn’t always read well on the page and could be heavy-handed. Aside from that, though, I had no troubles with falling into the relationship between Paige and James, and much like Kayla, I found myself rooting for them and hoping for their happily-ever-after. 

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Alana Oxford is a Michigan author of romcoms, sweet romance, and humorous women's fiction. She wants her stories to bring sunshine and smiles to her readers. She enjoys improv comedy, moody music, everything book related, and has an ongoing love affair with the United Kingdom.

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