It’s 1977. A 22-year-old finds herself ensconced in a place of dust and history: the archives room of a second-rate college. She’s reshelving Victorian etiquette books when the door opens and in walks the author—a fabulous, seductive, larger-than-life writer of historical romances—and the young woman’s life will never again be the same.
Set against 25 years of cultural evolution, the love between the younger woman and the grande dame of cheesy literature outlasts a 28-year age difference, romantic dalliances, illness, and the confines of the closet.
Along the way, the librarian ponders the nature of life, death, religion, and philosophy with the help of the imaginary counterparts of Socrates, Hildegard of Bingen, and Suzanne Pleshette, samples casseroles with names like Vegetables Psychosis and The Tubers Karamazov, and forges a family with her best friend, Jeff, and assorted quirky characters who wander into their lives.