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Whispers in the Reading Room #3, in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series, by Shelley Gray
Who is this mysteriously quiet dark-haired man who frequents the library where Lydia Bancroft works? He lives at the top of the prestigious Hartman Hotel of Chicago. Is he wealthy? While trying to uncover who he is, Lydia becomes a suspect to a murder. If she can’t trust this man to help prove her innocence, who can she trust? Who is telling the truth?
|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2015
Series: Chicago World's Fair Mystery
Lydias job at the library is her worlduntil a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.
Just months after the closure of the Chicago Worlds 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 isnt 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 Marksthe man so many people fearis actually everything her heart believes him to be.
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 bachelors and masters degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio. Visit her website at www.shelleyshepardgray.com Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray Twitter: @ShelleySGray
JessicaAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 54.5 starsJanuary 28, 2017JessicaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4Lydia Bancroft's world is a world of books, until a mysterious, dark-eyed man begins to frequent the reading room where she works as a librarian. He never speaks a word to her until a chance meeting puts him in the position to be her rescuer. She soon discovers that he is none other than the infamous Sebastian Marks, one of the most powerful men in Chicago.
They are both hesitant as they form a friendship, until Lydia discovers that Mr. Marks runs a club with illegal gambling. She insists that he bring her to the club, and things take a turn for the worse when someone is murdered.
Lydia must decide if she can truly trust Sebastian, and he must decide if Lydia can remain in his life.
Getting the negative out of the way, the writing is sometimes lacking, technically. It occurs mostly in the show-don't-tell sense. In some instances, we are definitely being told.We also get a lot of backstory through flashbacks, pulling the reader out of the present timeline for a while.It was these moments that prevented me from getting truly lost in this book.
That being said, the story itself was really good, and made it hard for me to put the book down. The characters were well written, and I enjoyed their interactions with each other, including the supporting cast. The characters are flawed. Some of them (most of them) are criminals. It is, after all, Chicago after the World's Fair.
Seeing as this is a Christian novel, some people may find some of the content objectionable. There is violence, though not graphic, and mentions of prostitution which is mostly acknowledgement of its existence. But there is a Christian message here if you are willing to see it. It's redemption. The characters speak of God occasionally, but I think the lesson to take away from this novel is that, for those who have gone astray, the road to redemption can be very dark. And sometimes the road is darkest just before the redemption.
This novel is the third in Gray's Chicago World's Fairseries, butit can be read as a stand-alone.If you're looking for a quick read witha hint romance and mystery, this novel is worth your time.
Robin WallaceFloridaAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Whispers in the Reading Room was Worth the ReadOctober 5, 2016Robin WallaceFloridaAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Whispers in the Reading Room
Book Summary: Lydias job at the library is her worlduntil a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart. Just months after the closure of the Chicago Worlds 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 isnt 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 Marksthe man so many people fearis actually everything her heart believes him to be.
Review: This was a great book! Although I am reading it out of order it was a stand alone and nothing was revealed to ruin the previous books when I get around to reading them. I really liked all the characters, although Lydias mother was difficult they were well written. The characters had flaws, like real people. This story held enough suspense that it kept my interest, yet as always Shelley Gray is a great writer and I have not yet read a book of hers that I did not like. I am looking forward to reading the first two books.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5The Brawler & The LibrarianAugust 3, 2016ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4In this conclusion of Shelley Gray's Chicago World Fair Mysteries trilogy, it's now some months after the close of the fair. Librarian Lydia Bancroft finds satisfaction running the local library's Reading Room. She finds herself drawn to one patron with an air of mystery about him. Dark haired, dark eyed, and a man of few words.
This mystery man, soon introduced to the reader as Sebastian Marks, is the proprietor of a local saloon and popular gambling house located in a rather unsavory area of town. He finds solace away from the rowdiness and violence in Lydia's Reading Room but is concerned that if word of his love of books got out, it would damage his street cred, so he prefers to keep quiet about his favorite pastime (well... one of them anyway... ). Lydia desperately wants to know more about him but how to approach him without seeming intrusive? Luckily, an opportunity soon presents itself.
Lydia and her mother have recently been left in a financial bind by Lydia's deceased father's poor money management. To try to pull them back in the black, Lydia enters into a marriage engagement with a man who presents himself as a man of wealth and status. Turns out he has a bit of a temper though. While having tea with her fiancee at the hotel where Sebastian just happens to live (the restaurant in the lobby there), Lydia finds her conversational comments unexpectedly get her man riled up, causing him to get physically abusive with her. Sebastian happens to be in the lobby and immediately comes to Lydia's aid. In just a few moments, Lydia's fiancee has called off their engagement, further disturbed that she seems to have an acquaintance with Sebastian. At this point, Lydia is unaware of Sebastian's line of work, but once the truth comes out she can't help but feel Sebastian is more than this work that pushes the boundaries of legal. Sebastian, in turn, is overcome to find someone who honestly seems to have faith in him as a person, having never had that in his life before. Lydia's friendship and loyalty to Sebastian will be put to the test as murder victims and suspicious cops continue to find their way to the doorstep of Sebastian's establishment.
Having now completed the series, I think I'd say this was my favorite of the trilogy. Though it technically takes place after the close of the Chicago World's Fair, Gray still finds a way to work the fairgrounds into the plot here, which was nice since the fair felt nearly non-existent in Book 2. I found this book to have some of the best atmosphere, what with the split between the peace and coziness of the library scenes vs the moments in Chicago's urban underbelly of 1893. I liked the way the relationship between Sebastian and Lydia progressed, the pace of it. Likewise, I like how the "bad guys" were developed. Though it might have made me cringe to hear Lydia's fiancee's speeches on how she needed to give up her bookish silliness once they were married, that kind of jerk was needed to illuminate Sebastian's soft side when he talks of his love of Lydia's intelligence and love of literature. I'm a book blogger, how am I not going to swoon a bit over the tough guy who loves the bookish girl? ;-)
Note To Readers: I would strongly recommend reading this series in order! There are characters that are carried over from book to book. Eloise's story was introduced in the first book, then became the focus for book 2. In this third book, Sean Ryan, the detective who was assigned Eloise's case in the second book, is brought back to investigate the case involving Sebastian. It'll all just make way more sense if you take these in order. Also, though this is technically considered Christian fiction, the mention of religious aspects is minimal in the first two books. I think there's little more than some characters briefly entering churches or, if a character shows conflicted emotion, another character might suggest to "pray on it". The religious aspect is slightly more noticeable in the third book, but still, only kept to one or two quoted bible passages and a "God Bless" or "God willing" here and there.
FTC DISCLAIMER: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
alwaysreadingAge: 55-65Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5DisappointingJuly 2, 2016alwaysreadingAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 2Value: 4Meets Expectations: 2Whisper in the reading room is the third book in the Chicago Worlds Fair Mystery series.
Lydia Bancroft has long given up on a husband and family and her world consists of her position at the lending library & her beloved books, dreaming of places she wants to visit.
Sabastian Marks has spent the last few months lounging in the Library Reading room before going to work at the illegal gaming club he owns. However when his and Lydia's paths cross, neither one will ever be the same.
I was so looking forward this book, it had all the components of a book that I would enjoy. A library, a girl devoted to books, a tall mysterious man that catches her attention. Unfortunately for me anyway, this story came up short. First I didnt find Lydia and Sabastian very compatible. Yes, opposites attract, but there was very little chemistry. Second, I found several things disturbing. They use the w word for prostitute several times. The story would have moved along nicely by just alluding to this profession. Next was that while Sabastian is attempting to teach Lydia to live life instead of just reading about it, he commits breaking and entering and takes her along. Last, the focus on his gaming establishment and the things that go on in such a place, (other than the gambling) seemed to be in the forefront of the story especially in the second half of the book.
This book was supposed to be a Christian novel I didnt find God, or faith or salvation until the very end of the book and then there was just a sentence or two. Almost like an afterthought as if someone said, oh yeah this is supposed to be a Christian novel so we do have to mention God somewhere. This book reminded me of the historical romance novels (without the sex) I used to read before I became a Christian.
The only redeeming thing about this book was the character of Bridget. She was wonderfully done and had a great storyline. We also get to revisit with Captain Ryan and Detective Howard from the previous two books.
Would I recommend this book? As a Christian no, I cant. In fact I cant put it in my library at church, I had to donate it.
Only two stars because of Bridget and her story.
Amanda B5 Stars Out Of 54 1/2 Stars!May 24, 2016Amanda BQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 04 1/2 stars for Whispers in the Reading Room! This is the first book by Shelley Gray I've read, and I'd definitely be willing to read others. Please note, I have not read the first two books in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series.
Librarian Lydia Bancroft is fascinated by one of her library patrons. When he saves her from being treated roughly by her fiance, she learns the mysterious stranger's name is Sebastian Marks, he lives in the top of the Hartman Hotel, and most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian strike up an unlikely friendship and Lydia's eyes are opened as she learns more about her city than she has ever known when she asks Sebastian to visit his gambling club one night.
I feel that some topics were just stuck in the book to be there (faith, for example), and could have been woven into the book earlier and more thoroughly, and I felt some of the story lines were tied up in a hurry, with no real resolution. I tend to enjoy epilogues, and think one would have been nice in this case. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to a friend!
I was given a free copy of this book by the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
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