Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Book description:

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.

My review:

I am not a huge fan of mystery novels, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed this one. The writing was so descriptive and detailed that it made the setting and the characters come alive.

The characters really do make this story. I love the multiple layers of Sebastian and how he is a diamond in the rough. He is such a good person, but has all the baggage from his past that is holding him back.

I do wish there were more character lessons in the book. Hunt and Bridget have some spiritual discussions, but there weren’t many lessons to take away from the story.

I would love to read a follow-up story featuring Hunt and Bridget. I would be interested to see where their relationship might go and it would be great to revisit Sebastian and Lydia.

All in all, this book offers a little bit for everyone, whether you are a romance fan, mystery fan, or a history fan.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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