Friday, December 18, 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room {A Fantastic Mystery Novel}

About the book: 

Whispers in the Reading Room (Zondervan, November 2015)

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.

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

Connect with Shelley: websiteTwitterFacebook


If you enjoy mystery, suspense, and period pieces, Whispers in the Reading Room is a must read. I had not read any books by Shelley Gray prior to this one, and haven't read the other two books in her 'A Chicago World's Fair Mystery' series; I enjoyed the novel very much and plan to read the other books in this series simply based on how much I enjoyed this 3rd novel. The character development is excellent as first impressions and assumptions give way to hidden strengths, secret lives and complex personalities.

The novel revolves around the relationship between Lydia Bancroft and Sebastian Marks. Lydia is a librarian, and Sebastian is an avid reader who spends much time at the library. Even though they don't even talk to each other, a camaraderie between them is clearly apparent in the way they appreciate each other's intellect and routines. As they novel progresses, the reader discovers (long before Lydia) that Sebastian lives a dark life. He is a formidable owner of a saloon & gambling club in the gritty, crime-ridden area of Chicago. Lydia and her mother are revealed to be poor, yet Lydia's desire to remain strong and independent have her struggling with looking forward to life with her fiancé. These two separate worlds collide very literally in the Hartman Hotel, and Sebastian finds himself coming to Lydia's rescue. Connecting outside the library creates a wonderful "Thru the Looking Glass" storyline as they try to right themselves and move on--yet nothing with ever be the same as Lydia & Sebastian and other characters' lives criss-cross, shift, and are disrupted. Humor, anger, sadness, murder, scandal, fear & longing all stay intertwined until the last sentence on the final page brings true resolution. It is rare for an author to be able to maintain such a level of dimension throughout a novel, but Gray does it with excellence. I have no desire to tell you any more info about the plot or the minor characters--because it's so worth your time to discover it all on your own.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review*

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

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