Amber by Night

Amber by Night by Sharon Sala and Mayu Takayama

I’m always on the lookout for fictional portrayals of librarians so there was no way I wasn’t going to read Amber by Night after reading this summary:
Amelia is a typical bookworm librarian. But she has a secret. At night, she works as a provocatively dressed waitress named Amber. One night as she’s working as usual, she spots Tyler, the town’s most sexy man, and the guy Amelia has been admiring for some time. As soon as he sees her, he approaches her, not realizing that she is, in fact, Amelia…!

I live tweeted reading this manga under the hashtag #annavsamber (inspired by Ken’s suggestion and my pal Chris’ heroic suffering with chrisvstwilight). Chris also created this excellent alternative cover for Amber by Night. If Amber by Night was a librarian disguised as a sexy waitress who was also disguised as a werewolf by night, that would be awesome.

Like most harlequin titles the story is a mass of cliches, but I was amused enough by all the stereotypical librarian imagery in this title that I didn’t regret the fifteen minutes I spent reading it. Poor Amelia is a spinster librarian who was raised by her spinster aunts. There are many spinsters here! She lives in a small town and wants to save up enough money to buy a new car, so naturally she gets a job with an alternate identity as a sexy waitress named Amber. On the way to her secret sexy job, she runs into the uber-hot farmer Tyler Dean Savage, who is dazzled by Amber’s long legs. Amelia has had a crush on Tyler for a long time, but of course he never noticed her in her usual bespectacled high-necked, pointy-bunned librarian outfits. Tyler asks Amber out, and she says yes thinking that for just once, she’ll live in the moment. They go out and Amelia decides that she won’t see him again, because if he’s attracted to Amber there’s no way he’d like Amelia the Spinster Librarian.

When you think about it, Spinster Librarians are a little bit like Superman. They have their Clark Kentlike nerdy exterior, but if they take off their glasses and shake loose their hair, they develop powers of super sexiness that they can then use to entrap equally sexy local farmers like Tyler Dean Savage. Takayama does a decent job with the art adaptation of the original harlequin novel. I particularly liked the way she made Amelia’s bun come to a point on top of her head, for that extra touch of spinsterness. There’s plenty of contrast between Amelia’s two personas in their attire and body language. Tyler’s a typical tall dark and handsome hero type who always seems to be around when Amelia is about to topple over. After saving her from tripping at the grocery store, he sees her without her glasses on and just like that he is able to penetrate Amelia’s clever disguise. Tyler is more clever than Lois Lane.

Amelia decides to quit her extra job and turns Tyler down when he asks for a second date. So he starts dating her as Amelia, despite the horrific obstacle of her spinster aunts. Will the secretly sexy librarian and well-muscled farmer find lasting happiness together? Their fate is never in doubt, this is a harlequin manga after all. I did enjoy reading this more than the other romance novel featuring a librarian that I’ve read, Dewey Decimal System of Love. I think perhaps I find librarian stereotypes more amusing and less annoying if they are rendered manga style.

Access to electronic copy provided by the publisher.