Librarian Ally Sheffield is sitting at the debut concert of Maestro Aleksi Kullio with the Philadelphia Philharmonic when her 15 year dormant sexuality awakes with a vengance. Her boss notices the change in her features the next day and proclaims she's in love. She doesn't deny it to herself, even when she meets Kullio's wife who is researching poisons for a mystery that she is writing. No surprise that it's set in an orchestra and the conductor is one of the victims. The story follows Ally as she tries to bring herself to Aleksi's notice, from notifying him of the library's purchase of a biography of Stravinsky to volunteering to set to rights the Philharmonic's archives.
Ms. Carr is able to craft an engaging dialogue between Ally and the reader. As a librarian myself, it's enjoyable to see the the application of Dewey Decimal numbers to subjects Ally is talking about. Yes, some of the geeks of the library world do do this. Unfortunately, what made this book less than enjoyable for me was not the stereotypification of Ally as a librarian. It was Ally's justification of her continued pursuit of Aleksi, despite his marriage, that it was okay to do because Aleksi's wife was always less than cordial to Ally during their interactions. I picked this book up knowing it wasn't strictly a romance. This characterization of Ally, however, made it impossible for me to truly enjoy Ms. Carr's funny and engaging style of writing. If the knowing intent of adultery by the main character doesn't bother you, this book will probably be a wonderful read for you. I do look forward to seeing what else Ms. Carr will produce.
This report prepared by Katie
NAL, Sep 2003, 12.95, 272 pp.
Forty-year-old Philadelphia librarian Ally Sheffield has always been comfortable living a single lifestyle even after fifteen years of celibacy and four years without a date. However, her feelings abruptly change when she sees Philadelphia Philharmonic conductor Aleksi Kullio. Suddenly, Ally feels in love though she never met her idol. From contented abstinence Ally knows desire and wanting to thank this music maestro.
Someone conducts pranks at the library that includes olfactory overload. As the librarians wonder whom and why, Ally volunteers to serve as archivist at the Philharmonic where she meets her beloved. The married Aleksi flirts with her even while his wife looks up poison references. When Aleksi uses her to “steal” a Copland score, she tries to turn the tables with the help of Beethoven, the Feds and her boss Gordon Albright, who loves Ally.
THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM OF LOVE is a solid contemporary romance with a touch of intrigue. Ally is a fine protagonist whose sudden awakening to the male of the species after years of satisfying spinsterhood is well designed, believable, and fun to observe. Though Aleksi's motives never make sense, Josephine Carr provides the audience with a warm tale of late bloomers finding love.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner