Thursday, December 17, 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray - REVIEWED

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.

Buy your copy here

My Thoughts:
Words are only words.  Sometime they are not enough.”  (p. 328)

1894 found Lydia Bancroft in a rather uncomfortable and unexpected position in her life.  There were many uncertainties before her, and, like many if not all women of that era, the only escape from her circumstance was to marry well.  That prospect was as uncertain as every other circumstance she was facing, and the reality of her relational status seemed every bit as fictional as the books she loaned her reading room patrons.

Don’t you just love a library, the quiet peacefulness to enjoy endless adventures between the pages of a good novel?  Lydia loves it too, and she is especially drawn to her patron Sebastian Marks.  He begins as a mere observer in the novel, but he quickly becomes almost too involved in Lydia’s affairs.  In fact, he seems to almost bully his way into her life circumstances, and for the longest time the reader is unable to discover his true intent and purpose.  For you see, he lives a double existence most of the novel, and though he longs for things to be different, he feels as trapped as Lydia for totally different reasons!

This has been the most engaging, intriguing book I’ve read lately, and I’ve been totally transported back in time to enjoy the historic era, and, most importantly, the reading room.  I am very excited to recommend this book to readers everywhere!  You will be completely engaged from beginning to end, and you will come to care a great deal about this very eclectic group of characters. All is not as it seems!!  Enjoy!! 

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 at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

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