For the Love of Libraries by Stefanie Sloane

While I’m sure it’s far from the truth, something in me just assumes that everyone has fond memories of their childhood library. All I need do is close my eyes and think of my hometown’s one room library and memories start to swim in my mind. The smell of dust and well-worn books fills my nostrils. My palms tingle in response to the soft texture of the braided rug where I sat on the floor in the children’s section, one hand flattened against it, while the other held an open book. The quiet yet quit serious librarian’s shushes that punctuated the silence every now and again tickling my ears.

To a child, it was a magical place. And honestly, to this adult, it still is. Maybe that’s why I’ve made the love of books and libraries so integral to my newest novel, The Saint Who Stole My Heart. Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a man in possession of a vast and widely envied collection of rare books. Miss Elena Barnes would like very much to relieve the charming lord of his library, return to her Dorset home, and never be heard from again.

High jinx ensue, naturally, and Dash and Elena find themselves with much more on their minds than books. But lest we forget, it is the love of a library that brings the two together—and, I can assure you without spoiling the story, that love is not forgotten even after the last page is turned.

And now, for your reading pleasure, here is an exclusive excerpt from The Saint Who Stole My Heart. It is in fact the very first time that Elena claps eyes on Dash’s collection. As for Dash? It is of the upmost importance that he convinces the woman he is nothing more than an annoying dimwit so that she might leave as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to focus on anything more than the woman herself. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~   *   ~~~~~~~~~~

“‘Oh!’ Miss Barnes exclaimed in a hushed tone, her excited intake of breath pulling Dash from his thoughts.

She rushed toward the end of the aisle, skidding to a halt in front of a glass case situated against the wall.

Dash couldn’t help himself. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and he followed.

‘Giacomo Paolini’s Abecedary,’ Miss Barnes whispered, as though speaking a sacred prayer within the walls of a grand cathedral.

Dash moved closer to the case, studying the book. Its presence was wholly surprising. His father must have acquired the volume shortly before his death.

‘Have you read it, Miss Barnes?’ he asked, breathing in her delicate floral scent as he did so. He couldn’t readily identify the flower.

‘Hardly,’ she replied, leaning closer to the case, her brow nearly skimming the glass. ‘This volume— the only one still in existence, mind you— was lost for years.

Your father was incredibly fortunate to find it, my lord.’

‘Mmh,’ he replied, distracted. Rose? No, the scent was more complex than that. Lavender? He discreetly breathed deeper, dragging in more of her elusive scent, suddenly desperate to know.

Bergamot.

‘Ha,’ he declared.

Miss Barnes jumped. ‘I beg your pardon, my lord?’ she asked, looking at him as though he were mad.

Really. I’m not the one gushing over an old book.

Dash fought the urge to say the sentence out loud and instead, straightened his crisp cravat. ‘Funny that, wouldn’t you agree? My father found a book that so many could not,’ he replied, looking at the volume with what he hoped was childlike glee. ‘Were there many people looking for it?’

‘Oh, yes,’ her voice brimmed with enthusiasm. ‘The late Lord Carrington was not the man who actually found the volume, of course. But we can all be thankful he had the foresight to provide such an admirable and efficient home for it. Look here,’ she gestured at the case. ‘See how it is perfectly situated away from the sunlight . . .’

Dash hardly heard a word she said. He couldn’t pull his gaze away from the fascinating quality of her skin and the flush of color from her cheeks, down the curve of her throat, to the neckline of her dress.

‘And the case? Why isn’t it stacked with the rest of the books?’ he wondered aloud.

He knew exactly why, of course. Direct sunlight would compromise the already fragile pages. But he wanted to watch her hands as she talked, gesturing and pointing this way and that, as expressive as the excited cadence of her speech and tone.

Dash wondered why he was noticing her hands. They were, after all, only hands. She possessed a pair just as nearly every other human being on the planet did.

What was he doing? He wasn’t supposed to be interested in Miss Barnes. He just needed her to pack up the books and go back to Dorset, as soon as possible.

‘Fascinating stuff,’ he interrupted her careful explanation, needing to be anywhere but next to Miss Barnes. ‘But I’m afraid I must be off. I’ll leave you to your books.’

She smiled at him shyly. ‘Of course, my lord. This must all be terribly boring to you,’ she replied, curtsying.

Dash bowed and turned to go.

‘Thank you, my lord,’ she added. ‘You’ve no idea what these books mean to me— and my father, of course.’

Dash paused, but did not turn around, fearful that she’d draw him back. ‘Oh, don’t thank me, Miss Barnes. It’s all my father’s doing.’

It was the truth, after all. Though Dash was having a hard time being thankful to his father for anything at the moment.

‘I look forward to seeing you at dinner, my lord.’

The woman could not bear to relinquish the last word.’Yes, Miss,’ he replied.

‘Excellent.’

Christ Almighty”

~~~~~~~~~~   *   ~~~~~~~~~~

Melanie here! And now for the giveaway! You ready?! Ms. Stefanie Sloane will be giving away all four of the Regency Rogues books to one winner! How cool is that?! All you need to do is tell us about ANY library that left a lasting impression on you, and if there are any pics of them, feel free to include the link so we all can enjoy it.

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57 comments on “For the Love of Libraries by Stefanie Sloane

  1. Two of my favorite things, romance and libraries. The library was my second home while growing up. And what a wonderful place to discover romance, both in bound and unbound form.

  2. Our local library led to my discovery of the multitude of topics written … my parents started my love of reading….

  3. I love all librarys, it a place like no other, a place you can get lost in a dinffernt world. I have always found something maical about them.All it takes is to pick up one book and your somewhere else:)
    Loved the post!

  4. It would have to be my local library. Pretty typical as libraries go, but when the massive flood roared through town the library was flooded. The water stopped just below the book stands. The library was closed for months while they pumped out all the water & replaced carpets & fittings. Not one book was lost. It’s a miracle. There is a sign along the back wall showing the height of the flood. It makes me proud that so many people worked hard to protect & preserve the books – precious as they are.

  5. Ahh fellow bookworms and our love of libraries, =)
    The library at the college I went to was very impressive and memorable, for other things hehehe.
    But i am with you Stephanie, it is my schools library that I grew up in and loving that sticks out most in my mind. As a young girl walking into that huge place with rows upon rows of books, I had thought I was in heaven. Though I enjoyed sitting on the rug listening to what the librarian would read to us I was always more anxious to get up and go explore for myself in the more advanced books, I needed challenge and imagination stimulation.
    Great question! Fun to answer and read other responses to!

  6. I was one of 7 kids, so money was tight when I was growing up in London. I was fortunate enough to have the local library near to where we lived. I spent a lot of time there as it was always so blissfully quiet and I loved choosing books to take home to read. Fairy Tales and Black Beauty were some of my favorite books to read. I can still picture the library now, with the very stern Librarians pulling out our membership cards from the brown index boxes and then stamping the card inside the books with the return by date.

    I believe that this is where my love of books grew from, especially romance books. I loved the Fairy Tales as they always had a Happy Ever After, which is what romance books offer us too. :-)

    I love to win this set of Stefanies books. Thank you for such a generous contest.

  7. The New York Library is pretty amazing. I love it when I visit NY. But the one that made the most impression on me was the library in my school. That’s how I got into reading!

  8. I fell in love with libraries when I was 4 years old. That’s the yearmy Dad had a small room in our home turned into a library with a entire wal of bookshelves filled to the brim. He had the lowest shelf saved for “children’s” books so my sisters and I could reach them. One of the best things in the room was a red leather chair not only because we’d sit on his lap while he read to us but also because it made a “whooshing” sound when you said on the top and slip down to the seat! When my boys were toddlers and I’d read to them I always thought of my Dad and that great library!

    The second library I fell in love with was the Scotia Public Library. The summer between 5th and 6th grade all my friends went off to camp and while searching for something to do one day when I was at the local park and it started to rain I went into the library near by. I roamed around and then stumbled on a row of books that were all biographies – that summer I read every book on the shelf that was about a woman Amelia Earhart and Clara Barton.

    The third library I fell in love with was when my family moved from the village of Scotia to a city nearby. I was devasted, not only from moving away from my friends but not also not having the freedom anymore to just take a walk as far as I wanted to go. My parents said I had to stay within a few blocks of the house and go no further. One day I turned onto a block I hadn’t “checked out” before and saw this huge stone building with the words LIBRARY on it! YEAH! I had found the perfect place to escape for my daily romps. Again that summer I not only took out books to read in a nearby park but also on rainy days to escape into a ever expanding world of wonder.

    One of the reasons I love Staphanie’s books because she developes her characters so that the reader can make a personal connection to them. One of the excerpts I read from The Saint Who Stole My Heart was a scene where Elena and her father were talking in the library and it brought back once again those precious moments I spent with my own father. Thank you Staphie.

  9. I spent every Saturday in the library when I was growing up, at least until 7th grade when we moved to the country. Then I had to be content to just spend my free periods in the school library. I was the oldest of 6 and it was my escape. I could spend my time wherever in the world I wanted to go, and do it in peace and quiet.

    About 10 years ago, I was lucky enough to get a job as a children’s library in a small county library. Talk about a dream job! My degree was in education, but I had taken library courses which none of the previous people who had filled the position had. It was great fun developing and expanding the collection. The library is in an old train station and the children’s section occupied the office area behind the ticket window. It was so crowded and there wasn’t enough shelf space for the books. In the eight years I was there, we were able to greatly expand the collection. We were able to move the children’s collection to what was the freight room and more than triple the shelf space and usable floor area. What had been the children’s section was turned into the teen area. When I got there, the teen collection filled only two bookcases. It is now over 10 bookcases. The other problem, was it was way behind the times with none of the great new YA books that have been coming out.

    The other great part was being able to have fun programs. Summer reading programs were enjoyable and we had after school programs during the school year. We did a Lewis and Clark program one year, but the one that was the biggest hit was our medieval program which lasted several months. We followed what life would be like for children the same age as the participants depending on their social status. We studied heraldry and its importance. Everyone created their own coat of arms following the rules. We finished with a knighting ceremony and a banquet. They decorated their own jeweled goblets and eating knives. I fixed foods as close to what would have been served and made mead. Food was served on trenchers with just their eating knives to use. I am a firm believer of teaching while having fun, and kept the information as historically accurate as possible.

    With all the movies coming out based on YA and children’s books, we had some fun release day parties. Best of all, the town’s movie theater was only 2 blocks from the library. We would have our book party then walk to the theater and attend the movie together. Most of the kids and library staff came in costume and we continued the party in line at the theater. It is a good thing it was a small town, because we were a rather rowdy group inside the movie.

    One of the other benefits of working at a small library is the multi-tasking. Of 6 employees, I was the only one who read romance, although several of them read romantic suspense (but refused to admit it was romance). I got to recommend what to order and did some of the ordering myself. While my friend was director, daily patronage went from 20 people a day to over 150. Circulation increased tremendously as did the collection. My husband built 54 bookcases for them (poor man gets volunteered for everything.). We all hated to see her retire. It resulted in a major shift at the library and staff changes. I really miss the job and the patrons. I enjoyed talking with patrons and helping them find new authors and books to read no matter what their favorite genre was. I would send pictures, but my library pictures were on my work computer and they wiped them all off before I got a chance to copy them.

    I am sorry this is so long, but libraries have always been an important part of my life from the escape as a chile, to the small box of books the Peace Corps provided me as a PC volunteer, to volunteering in my children’s schools and our local library, to my job as a librarian. It have spilled over into my house, and I have my own extensive library that I share with family and friends.

    I can understand your characters’ love of books. Oh, to have an estate with its own library. I hope THE SAINT WHO STOLE MY HEART has done well. I will be looking for it and the rest of the Regency Rogues which have been on my Wish List.

  10. I still think of the Library of my childhood with lots of fondness. First you had to ride an elevator to the 2nd floor of the building. Then the children’s area had two double doors you had to go through. Books galore! They had tables and chairs, but also had bean bags, fluffy rugs and interesting cubby holes you could climb into to curl up with your favorite book. I still remember getting my first library card and can still smell all those books. Remember going to story time and the summer reading program. I haven’t been back there since I was a kid (60 miles away), but still love that place!

  11. Our school library in high school is probably the most memorable library that I’ve been through because it was just beside our classroom! Research was never a problem since you’ll only have to walk a few steps. During our free time, we would stay there and do some research. (It was in our high school library that I’ve read my first romance book) But the most memorable experience that ever happened to me was, during one of our exams, we all had a hard time answering a question that we all decided to look for the answer in the library. We picked my classmate to search for the answer and we all made a pact not to tell anybody. It was cheating but it was also very fun. Can’t believe we actually did that considering we were the top section. :D As I’ve said it was fun but the only problem was me and my classmates are really noisy that we we’re often being reprimanded by our librarian. We were often punished and the librarian would make us clean the library, water the plants and return all the books in their proper places.

  12. Oh my! I remember when I went to Catholic School we had a one-room library on the 3rd floor of our building. I loved going in there! The librarian had been there for many years, long before I had ever gone there. It was so lovely. I loved sitting in the corner and reading. It was such a treasure! The town I currently live in now, has a small library that was once the train station. Very quaint , and very cute. :)

  13. While none of the libraries I used growing up were very big (this is a link to the pic of the base I lived on, not the library itself, but it should give you an indication as to just how small the library was if the base itself was this size LOL) I have HUGE memories of the base library and school libraries as I participated in the summer reading programs every year from 1st grade through 12th. My most memorable year was between 5th and 6th grades when after the first two weeks I had exhausted all 200 books on our suggested summer reading list and spent the remainder of summer vacation sitting in our nice, cool library reading all of the encyclopedias (now THAT is when you know you have too much time on your hands LOL). All of the librarians knew me by name and would ask me periodically throughout that summer what I was reading about now and whether or not I had chosen to do that on a dare or a bet :-D I still have a great love of reading and libraries and when I don’t have anything at home I am currently reading I will usually go check out as many books at the library as I am allowed to (and actually finish them before they are due 3 weeks later ;-) ). My husband swears I have problems and should seek therapy hehehe! This is the picture of the base I grew up on http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_iq2vQY1Jeaw/TVL4DHIYGkI/AAAAAAAAXfg/cisyLc5k4-0/s400/dugway1.png and I am sure after seeing how small the place was you can understand why I spent so much time reading!

  14. My local library is often my sanctuary. On a bad or depressing day, the library offers a break from everything stressful in my life. When I was in college, the library in my school served the same purpose. It became my favorite study place and I can’t begin to count the numbers of papers that I wrote there. When I am sad, my husband doesn’t even ask how to cheer me up- he just takes me to the library. It usually works!

  15. In my highschool library, I’d sit in between the bookshelves even though the hardwood floors were freezing. The chair were used for classes but I never minded that – I loved being so close, so surrounded by all those layers of books and being able to pluck one out if it looked interesting

  16. I think I have been reading from day 1!! My parents encouraged it at first, then it was “put down that book and do your chores!”. I loved going to the library and still love to go. I often walk down an aisle and just pick up a book without looking at it, and can’t wait to get home to see what I’ve got.

  17. Please don’t enter me into the contest, just wanted to reply. I already have all 4 books.
    I love my libraries. I live in a small town and their are 4 other small towns in the area. I get to visit each one. I never run out of anything to read. I love to read, about 4 to 6 books a week depending on how big they are. So I am constantly at the library.
    I have even won books from authors for the library. I also give my books to the libraries when I am finished with them, either to put on the shelf or to sell. I keep my books in good shape and so they are very happy to take them. I have always been a fan of the library. Can’t afford to buy every book, I just buy my favs.

  18. That would be Willard Library in Evansville, IN, where I grew up. It is supposedly haunted, but what I love about it is all of the wood. It’s very old, don’t remember the statistics, but turn-of-the-century old. It makes you wonder how many people browsed the same shelves as I did.

  19. I wish I could say a library had a lasting impression on me, but none did. A reading class is what got me reading and I thank God for that class every time I read a great book.

  20. Our town had a huge, very old library. High ceilings, old wooden tables, card catalogs and NO talking. I loved it. Reading has always been an escape which I learned at an early age. My children didn’t have a library but we had a book mobile that came to our area once a week. We got to know the 3 people who ran it and it was a special place for my two girls. We use to take out 30 books every week (the maximum lol) and they made sure there were always new selections for their ages.

  21. Of course, the best library I’ve ever visited was the Library of Congress. It was so awesome, I don’t know if I’d be able to do any work there. The NYC Public Library is pretty cool, too, althought I’ve only seen the great exterior. I love all libraries and use mine at least once a week. I live in a small town, but we have a network of libraries that work together for book loans. Also, out state has a statewide system, so if our local consortiun doesn’t have a book I want to read, I can usually find it somewhere i the state. This is grea for me because we’d be in the poor hosue if I bought every book I read. But I do by some!! both print and e-books.

  22. My small town didn’t have a public library – only a 1-room library at the 1 school. But it was a treasure trove to me.

  23. I wish I had a picture of the library that impacted me the most but it has since been torn down :-( I frequented the library as a child, went to story times, sat on the grand front staircase waiting for my parent to come pick me up with my bundle of just checked out books. I remember my first audiobook loans – on cassettes – and musicial loans as well. I did quite a bit of high school in that library as well. Now it seems the local libraries aren’t used nearly as much as they once were…

  24. I did my varsity in Christchurch NZ (a long time ago!) & I was totally amazed by the CIty Library. It was totally awesome to me, coming from a small town which had a quite pathetic library to this huge building with bezillion books. There was even a section with books I could borrow for free. I used to pop over after classes almost everyday!

  25. so said that no library in my school and there is one library in my town, but i never go there and just discovered it nowadays :(

  26. can’t think of any library that left a lasting impression, but then I’ve only been to typical small community or school libraries. have often thought of them as a nice place to “escape” to that’s full of possibiities :) particularly in college & lived on campus when I could find some poetry to escape the classwork with :)

  27. I was lucky to have a regional library as my local while growing up. Hild was immense in comparison to it’s peers. A magnificent building- the upper level was for children, young adults and meets, while the main floor had a rotunda area for adult books along with a large collection room. I loved the book dumbwaiter. I also believe that I read almost every book in the library at the time. (I use to take home 21 books at a time). I also had an aunt who was a librarian who created a book list for me.
    Today I work with special ed students and have a degree in Reading. We breathe books in class and I encourage any form of reading for my students.

  28. The best library was in my hometown of Smyrna. We went every week and I spent hours picking out the best books. I read every biography our branch had by the time I finished fifth grade. Our town was so small that the librarian greeted everyone by name and knew what you liked to read and would save the new books for me. I loved the library so much that I became a librarian in a small town.

  29. I love love love libraries! I remember as a small child checking out a stack of books that was as tall as I was (or so it felt, as I carried out my treasures). Old bookstores are a close 2nd on my list of favorites. Our local library is currently in a small building that feels like you’ve entered someone’s home. The new library will be full of light and space. As long as there are books, it will still feel cosy. My alma mater’s library (the Suzzallo Library Graduate Reading Room at the University of Washington), is the picture I always have in my head of a library. That library alone may have convinced me to go to college there, just because I loved that room so much.

    Here is a link to a photo: http://staff.washington.edu/paymana/images/photos/uw/reading.jpg

  30. Pingback: Between perfect order and perfect chaos « Reel Librarians

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