Review: Longbourn Library by Trudy Wallis

Posted February 19, 2024 by Sophia Rose in Contemporary Romance, Rating B, Reviews Tags: , , ,

book cover of Longbourn Library by Trudy WallisLonghorn Library
Trudy Wallis
Sophia Rose
Rating: B+

What I’m Talking About:

What if Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice story took a leap forward in time to small town Idaho and the characters were all associated the local library?  Book people mashed with a classic story made for a romp of a RomCom.

Longbourn Library is just the sort of story I enjoy when I pick up a modern retelling of a classic.  I eagerly read the introductory chapters to see how Austen’s beloved characters were to be represented in the twenty-first century and then how the author would translate the story.  The writing style and plot let me know I was going to get a fun, sometimes tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy based on misunderstanding and some plotting characters‘ shenanigans.  I saw quickly that the author had done a good job of recreating characters and plot with her own brand of originality. 

With this set predominantly in a southeastern Idaho small town, I was already on board as I’ve enjoyed a few visits to the area this fictional town of Hertford is based on- yay for a mention of the Potato Museum and Craters of the Moon National Park and, yes, we have a potato truck causing a traffic jam.  The library of this town is the setting for most of the book and I sighed with happiness at the thought of a romance in a library.

But, I cackled with amusement when Trudy Wallis rolled out her characters. Austen’s five Bennet sisters were not sisters, but all librarians working in capacities that matched their personalities (Kitty as Children’s librarian and Mary as research librarian). Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were quirky patrons who came to the library so she could get the latest gossip and he could get some peace and quiet with a book in his favorite chair. Mr. Collins was a bad blind date for Liz and showed up with some wince-worthy pick up lines. Lady C is the library patroness, Charlotte is a library volunteer, and the gracious Mrs. Gardiner is the town mayor.  

The story opens when Darcy and Bingley are new to town and drop in to do research at the library (okay, Bingley is only researching a certain gorgeous smiling librarian).

The plot thickens when Wickham is introduced as a smarmy real estate agent who convinces Liz of his charm and that Darcy is much worse than a stiff in a suit.  

The antics at the library were great and I appreciated so much that the library programing came into play with the plot: weekly poetry and tea (I’m still giggling over Lydia’s choice of erotic poem for those staid afternoon tea guests), puppet story serial by Kitty in the children’s that felt like a second fun story within the story, Mary’s dreary soul-sucking research librarian obscure fact monologues, and the funny situations Liz runs into at the checkout desk (patron hiding a bodice ripper in between her garden book choices, hee hee).

The love of books and book people is prominent.  In fact, Liz, the heroine of the story, is looking for another booklover to love and has a long list of fictional heroes including the hero by a debut author who will be guest speaker at the library who fill her head with romance when her large grumpy cat isn’t parking on the book when she’s trying to read in bed each night.  She’s all but given up finding a man who knows who Robert Louis Stevenson is let alone read one of his books.  Liz formed a really low opinion of Darcy based on very little and the reader sees what Liz is blind for some time.  I really loved the way his shyness and awkwardness comes out and he slowly and quietly falls for Liz.

Longbourn Library is a light, quick and heartwarming modernization giving tribute to Jane Austen’s most beloved story, but also a love letter to books and book lovers.  Sweet small town romantic comedy fans should consider this lesser known gem.

My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot
Sophia Rose

About the Book:

Liz always believed working as a librarian in Hertford, Idaho would give her opportunities to meet intelligent men. Lately, however, she is starting to think her theory was wrong. She finds herself hiding from Collin, that slimy blind date she wishes she could forget. Charlie is a nice fellow, but he is clearly taken with Jane. Then there is that Californian “aspiring writer” named Darcy. What a snob! What are the chances any man could answer the wishes of Liz’s heart? Is being fond of reading the first step toward falling in love?

Release Date: January 22, 2017
Contemporary Romance, Modern Retelling
paperback (203 pages), e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)