REVIEW: The Library Of Borrowed Hearts by Lucy Gilmore

Posted May 6th, 2024 by in Blog, HJ Recommends, Review, Women's Fic - Chick-lit / 10 comments


The Library Of Borrowed Hearts by Lucy Gilmore: Chloe Sampson has to drop out of college and give up her dreams for the future after getting a call from Child Protection Series that her mother has left. Her three younger siblings have no one to take care of them, so Chloe has to scramble to raise them and pay the bills. She takes a job at the local library. While sorting out some books in the basement one day, she comes across an older copy of a once banned book. It’s not really stealing if was going to be thrown away, is it? Selling it may be the way to get past some debts.

After looking through the novel, Chloe discovers writing in the margins which seem to be exchanges between two people with romantic overtones. Chloe ventures next door to retrieve a Frisbee from their grumpy, hermit neighbor, Jasper Holmes. He has collected many of the Frisbees and soccer balls that Chloe’s siblings have accidentally tossed there. When Jasper sees the old book she has, he offers to buy it and gives her a blank check. Why is he so interested in a book that seems to have been lost for over sixty years?

In this dual time line tale, the reader is seamlessly returned to the summer of 1960. Catherine is working that summer in the local library. She meets a man who is rough around the edges, but seems to be just as big a book lover as she is. The management at the library discourage interaction between staff and patrons except for library matters. Catherine’s father who is a commander at the nearby radar base would never allow her to have a relationship with this man named Jasper who is a logger. Jasper and Catherine form their own book club. They discuss their choices mainly in the margins of those books.

As Chloe continues to find margin writing in more books, she seeks to unravel the fate of the couple and wonder whether they had a happy or tragic ending. The reader knows about the past, but just like Chloe aren’t certain about what happened.

Chloe does discover that beneath elderly Jasper’s curmudgeon exterior there exists a tender heart. When her brother Noodle is injured, Jasper comes to the rescue. Later he gives aid to the other children Theo and Trixie at a critical time. Chloe hasn’t had time for any romance of her own with her massive responsibilities. She does meet Zach who teaches a survival course. He shows great courage in being able to go on a “date” with all the siblings to a bowling alley.

This book is not your typical romance. It is a story of family, both real and found. It’s also a book about books. That’s always been a favorite theme of mine. As an avid reader, I loved that the author provided a book list at the end that featured all the books mentioned. I have read many of them and recommend most of them if you haven’t already read them .

I look forward to more novels in the future by the talented Lucy Gilmore.


Book Info:

Publication: April 30, 2024 | Sourcebooks Casablanca |

A.J. Fikry meets The Bookish Life of Nina Hill in this charming, hilarious, and moving novel about the way books bring lonely souls together.

Two young lovers. Sixty long years. One bookish mystery worth solving.

Librarian Chloe Sampson has been struggling: to take care of her three younger siblings, to find herself, to make ends meet. She’s just about at the end of her rope when she stumbles across a rare edition of a book from the 1960s. Deciding it’s a sign of her luck turning, she takes it home with her—only to be shocked when her cranky hermit of a neighbor swoops in and offers to buy it for an exorbitant price. Intrigued, Chloe takes a closer look at the book only to find notes scribbled in the margins between two young lovers back when the book was new…one of whom is almost definitely Jasper Holmes, the curmudgeon next door.

When she begins following the clues left behind, she discovers this isn’t the only old book in town filled with romantic marginalia. This kickstarts a literary scavenger hunt that Chloe is determined to see through to the end. What happened to the two tragic lovers who corresponded in the margins of so many different library books? And what does it have to do with the old, sad man next door—who only now has begun to open his home and heart to Chloe and her siblings?

In a romantic tale that spans the decades, Chloe discovers that there’s much more to her grouchy old neighbor than meets the eye. And in allowing herself to accept the unexpected friendship he offers, she learns that some love stories begin in the unlikeliest of places.



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