Sonia’s Weekend Read: Summer Hours at the Robbers Library

I had high hopes for this book, as I do for any book that features a library or librarian. Summer Hours at the Robbers Library didn’t disappoint, but it wasn’t what I expected at all.

The characters are complex and the story is well-paced. There were several plot twists that I didn’t see coming, but maybe because I was just enjoying the ride.

A Carnegie library similar to the one where Kit works.

The story revolves around Kit, a forty-something librarian living in a small, economically depressed town, working at the Carnegie public library. Kit has come to the town seeking solitude; she is a part of the small library community and yet remains detached, which is just the way she likes it.

One summer Kit learns she must supervise Sunny (whose real name is Solstice), a home schooled/no schooled teen who was caught stealing a dictionary from the local Barnes and Noble bookstore and sentenced to do her community service hours in the library. Sunny is eager to be helpful and has soon found her niche giving story times.

Kit and Sunny’s individual backstories are gradually revealed as the book goes along. Eventually Rusty crosses the library’s threshold, a Wall Street investor who lost everything in the recession and comes to the town to reclaim a lost fortune. Their lives become intertwined in a way none could predict.

Author Sue Halpern’s writing is at once brilliant and subtle. The way the characters test the waters of closeness with each other is like a dance, advancing and then backing away. Kit especially must learn to trust and open up with the others in spite of herself. The hopeful ending was just right, even if it wasn’t “happily ever after.” I’m going to be recommending this book for a long time.

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