If the title "Whispers in the Reading Room" doesn't do it for you, maybe the cover will. Yes, yes. This is the latest from author, Shelley Gray, whose novels are historical romantic suspense and my favorite genre.
I received a complimentary copy to review and was more than happy to read this lovely gem of a book.
The hero, Sebastian, is a deeply troubled soul and has both feet firmly planted in the gambling, club world of Chicago. I really LOVED this aspect of the book for a few reasons, one being not much is written about that, and two, I love haunted heroes. Not to mention, as warm as a nice hero can be, let's be honest--the world is gritty and it can take a man down into darkness.
... which is where Lydia finds him.
Our mousy little librarian hides nerves of steel, and she is captivated by her mysterious library reading room connoisseur. Of course, he's got enough bravado to save her from her fiance who is a cad, and a little saving often helps a romance. ;)
But soon enough, the dark undergound of Chicago raises its ugly head and I enjoyed the fact that people ended up dead, beat up, and worse for the wear. It makes the suspense exciting, amps up the tension in a forbidden world romance, and brings a bit of gothic-cheer ;) to the story.
A few things I wasn't as keen on were: the cover doesn't have the heroine wearing her oft-referred to spectacles. I mean, that's not a story deal-breaker, but I noticed. Mousy heroines are a bit difficult for me to connect with. While Lydia has a nervy side, as mentioned above, she definitely takes a lot from her fiance. While true to the culture of the time, I still had a bit of a time wondering when her inner strength would make her use her head a little too. Again, more personal preference than writing style or poor story. So really, I should shut up. Because the book is really good! The last thing I was a bit iffy on was the balance between romance/relationship and suspense. It was almost too much relationship and not even suspense. I'd like to see more of a 50/50 split. But again, personal preference. So again, shut up, Jaime.
All in all, it's a wonderful read and well enjoyed by me! And, I'm giving away my copy completed with the remnants of my daughter's Paw Patrol tattoo that somehow stuck to one of the pages. How special is that?!
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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: http://bit.ly/1lujxr6
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: website, Twitter, Facebook
Professional coffee drinker, Jaime Jo Wright, resides in the hills of Wisconsin. She loves to write spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense. Her day job finds her as a Director of Sales & Development. She’s wife to a rock climbing, bow-hunting Pre-K teacher, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl, and a little boy she fondly refers to as her mischievous “Peter Pan”. Jaime completes her persona by being an admitted social media junkie and coffee snob. She is a member of ACFW and has the best writing sisters EVER!
"The Cowgirl's Lasso", The Cowboy Bride's Novella Collection - Barbour Publishing - COMING MARCH 2016
"Gold Haven Heiress", California Gold Rush Romance Collection - Barbour Publishing - COMING AUGUST 2016
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