Whispers in the Reading Room
by Shelley Gray
Litfuse Publicity Group, Zondervan, and Shelley Gray are excited to partner together to bring you the newest Chicago World's Fair Mystery, Whispers in the Reading Room.
Lydia's job at the library is her world---until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.
Just months after the closure of the Chicago World's Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.
Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn't merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.
Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks---the man so many people fear---is actually everything her heart believes him to be.
I did do a lot of skimming in parts as I read this book, as it wasn't engaging enough for me to devour every word. The conversation was stiff, but it might've been the way people talked back then. Mr. Marks was a rags to riches story, though he didn't consider himself on of the elite though his riches surpassed most. In that regard, WHISPERS IN THE READING ROOM reminded me of Grace Livingstone Hill's classics with the down-on-her-luck heroine pawning everything and the rich hero riding in and saving her. In another way, this has much more drama, violence, and "real life" than Ms. Hill ever considered.
If you like historical mystery fiction, you will likely love WHISPERS IN THE READING ROOM. I admit to being engaged in the murder mystery. Who did it... several had motives. I did figure out the real killer early on though. The story is written in four points of view, but it easy to keep track of whose POV we're in. Recommended. 4 stars.
The other two books in this series are: '
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