Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

What a fun read! Many red herrings and interesting structure in the writing. This book had me guessing the whole time.
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A thriller that takes place in a library? Count me in! The Woman in the Library starts off strong with a captivating plot and enjoyable characters. When four individuals sit down at a table at the Boston Public Library, a terrified scream is heard amongst the stacks. While the library’s patrons wait for the all-clear, these four individuals pass the time and develop a friendship of sorts. It just so happens that one of these individuals is a murderer.

There is an additional story-in-story plot which is interesting, but a bit confusing to follow at first. This “story” involves one of the four individuals who chooses to write a book about what happened in the library. In addition to the story-in-a-story plot, a mysterious early reader/fan of the narrator's work named Leo sends feedback in the form of letters that are downright alarming in the best way. These letters definitely kept me turning pages, but the rest of the novel fell a bit flat for me. The main character is naive and the dialogue is a bit cringy. Some elements of the story did not seem believable. There are so many moving parts that I had a difficult time keeping track of what was in the story-in-story and what was real, and I selfishly wish, as a library worker, that more of the novel took place in the Boston Public Library. While unfortunately, the format for The Woman in the Library did not work for me, other readers may enjoy it for its unique plot.

Warning: the storyline mentions the COVID-19 pandemic.
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I chose to read this as I was familiar with Gentill's series based in Australia which I very much enjoyed and recommend.  Initially I was drawn to this story as I live in the Boston area and am familiar with all of the settings in the book, and, of course, because the initial mystery begins in the Boston Public Library, one of my favorite places.  I did enjoy how she contrives the characters to meet and how their relationships develop but found it getting a bit convoluted as Gentill drives the story to the ending.  It just got a bit too complicated for my taste.  I don't think it was as good as the Australia Rowland Sinclair series so was somewhat disappointed.
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At first I liked where the book was going but it quickly fell flat. It was creative to end each chapter with notes from an editor and shaping the novel around that but the characters were not realistic at all. For one why did all of the characters who just met fall in love with each other and blindly ignore all the evidence against one another. Freddie was so naive and it was just unbelievable. Also the ending was very confusing. The author attempted to wrap up the Leo storyline in one page and did not do a good job at explaining anything even after reading the Authors Notes at the end.
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What a fascinating read! Chapters of an upcoming Australian author's mystery are alternated with emails from a fan in the US to help her with the details of location and culture. It soon becomes evident that her fan is not only a fan. The plot twists and turns as the story of Cain peels back so many layers of his life, past and present. A mystery you won't want to put down until you know who done it
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This book is a pure delight and intrigue, and I cannot wait for everyone to read it. The narrative structure of this book is brilliantly done. 

The story begins with 4 strangers sitting together in a room in the Boston Public Library. Suddenly, a scream is heard, a body is discovered, and we are plunged into a twisting and turning mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end. In between chapters there is another story going on... The author of the story you're reading is corresponding with a fan. This device of a story within a story can often fail spectacularly, but Gentill makes you care deeply for both story lines. 

The main story of the murder in the BPL is extremely good - it would be a great story on it's own. However, with the addition of the secondary plotline of the author communicating with a fan adds to the level of enjoyment and mystery. What Gentill does with that is incredible how she is able to tell a detailed story through one simple letter. I really can't say more about the plot without giving anything away. 

This book will appeal to mystery lovers, especially those who enjoy locked room mysteries and unreliable narrators. The resolution of the book makes sense and I did not guess the ending. I'm willing to bet that it will keep many people in suspense as well, even hard core mystery fans. The revelation of "Who dunnit" is perfectly done, as the truth slowly dawns on you it blew my mind.
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Sulari Gentill  has hit it out of the park again.  I love her Rowland Sinclair mystery series. Then Gentill wowed her readers with a stand alone, After She Wrote Him.  This mystery within a mystery was fabulous, so I was excited to read this one.  Gentill's mind works in very creative ways.

In this new mystery novel, The Woman in The Library, we meet Hannah, an Australian novelist, who is writing a novel about Winifred, a novelist writing her next book as a writing scholarship winner in Boston.  Hannah creates the other main characters in this mystery as the people Winifred, or Freddy as she is known by her friends, that Freddie meets in the Boston public library.  At first they are just characters for her book, Handsome Man, Heroic Chin, and Freud Girl,  who she sees sitting at a table in the reading room.  When they hear a woman scream, they all become involved in conversation that leads to friendship.  Then they are Cain, Whit and Marigold and try to solve the mystery of the woman who screamed turning up dead in the BPL.

As Hannah develops the story plot with Freddie trying to solve the mystery, we are also privy to Hannah's correspondence with a fan, Leo, who is reading the chapters along with us and commenting on the story details.  He starts to get more insistent and graphic as the story builds, giving Hannah tips about the differences between Australian and American terminology.  Leo also gives her ideas for ways to murder and pictures of murders that he seems to find even before the police find the crime scene.   Leo also gives her advice about including CoVid references and masking in the mystery novel.  This is an interesting point , that the novel will be dated if you do or do not put references in about masks and the pandemic with the characters. It has been interesting reading novels written in the last two years and how they refer to the Pandemic.  

I really like the way Gentill uses the Leo character to add the masks and pandemic without affecting her main storyline.  This novel had a slow start and took about half way through to really become connected to the characters and the plot so that I wanted to finish reading and find out what happened.
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I was able to read a copy of this book via NetGalley. 

This was a fun mystery about four strangers-turned-friends, bonded by a peculiar event that takes place at the BPL. The book utilizes a framed story structure, which I was actually not fond of at first— however, the structure grew on me as the plot as well as the outside correspondence progressed. 

I was very excited to see Boston as the main location where the novel takes place, seeing as I’m from MA and lived in Boston during undergrad. Most of the city descriptions and details were fairly accurate, although I personally caught a few incorrect references. 

I found myself rooting for all four of the main characters as the story progressed, but enjoyed the details about Freddie and Cain the most (and the dynamic between them). There were times when I thought Freddie and Cain’s mannerisms seemed too aged when compared to Whit and Marigold, who are just a few years younger. 

At the end I still had some questions and wanted the story to continue.., so I would definitely read another installment to see what happens next!
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I enjoyed the book, the format of the plot was especially intriguing. I was pulled in by the fast paced plot and the character that was created through the one-sided email correspondence.  I would recommend this book in general, but especially as a Book Group title, as it is quick to read, has an interesting format, and it touches on recent topics. In addition to all that, the concept of the book as a correspondence and a manuscript, really opens up a broad range of discussion.
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Great for readers interested in the tone and layering of The Silent Patient and The Secret History.  The ending reveal isn't as shocking, but the journey there is riveting.
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Since I could not put this book down once I started it, I waited a day to write the review to see if I would feel as strongly positive about this book as I did while reading it.  I do.  Four stranger meet in the reading room of the Boston Public Library when they are startled by a woman's scream.  They forge an interesting friendship.  At the same time, author Sulari Gentil subtlety includes another story in a most ingenious way.  The characters are each interesting in their own way.  There is a possible red herring.  It's as if Agatha Christie herself was the Gentil's muse. This is a definitely going to be a very popular stay up all night #SummerRead #BeachRead.  Thank you #NetGalley for providing this preview.
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"The Woman in the Library" is part romance and part mystery. There's the woman's scream mystery story and a "real" (fictional) series of letters at the end of each chapter where a helper in Boston provided details about Boston and and a critique of the story to the author. This wannabe writer increasingly tried to influence the writing of the main story, so we see a battle begin as the author resisted certain suggestions. I began to wonder if the intended ending (from initial clues) might change because of this "outside" influence.

In the main story, it's a well-written story about four very different people becoming friends and a romance or two growing from this friendship. They talked about the woman's scream but didn't really play detective. The clues were still all there, and I did guess whodunit and how (though not why) right before the big reveal. The characters were engaging and reacted realistically to events. It's an unusual story and written in present tense, which I didn't even notice until nearly halfway through.

There was a fair amount of bad language. There was a brief sex scene that wasn't graphically, body-part described except for one sentence. Overall, I'd recommend the story.
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Sometimes a story is made more enjoyable more because of how it is told. This is one of those cases. You've heard of a book within a book? In this one there's at least a book within a book within a book. 

The main story is about four strangers who meet in a library and are brought together when they hear the sound of a woman's scream. At the end of each chapter however, there is an email to the supposed author of the book (Hannah) from a fan/fellow author (Leo) who is also proof-reading each chapter. 

The main story is a whodunnit with some interesting characters, but the book within a book aspects keeps things going. When the main story slows down a bit, the story with Hannah and Leo helps keep things going and vice-versa. 

It's a different take on a mystery. I highly recommend this one! 

#netgalley #TheWomanintheLibrary
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It took me sometime yo get into this book, but that was only because I was trying to work through the many layers and facets of this story - it really is an enthralling book. I must admit at first I thought I knew "who did It" and  said to "myself that is clever - not done often". after all the book catch line was "my first coffee with a killer", but as the book progressed and evolved, the layers added to the story with the ending being pulled together very well.
Oh I was wrong bout the murderer!
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Sulari Gentill is a new to me author and one I definitely look forward to hearing from again. This locked in a room, mystery in a mystery story is a genuine delight to read. There are twists and turns aplenty, excellent character development with a side of secrecy and friendships that form or do they? And who doesn't love a book set in a library?
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got this book as an ARC through NetGalley - it will be released on June 7, 2022. I loved this book! It sucked me in almost immediately - it was written in a way that I've never seen before. There's a book within a book - a writer is writing a thriller / mystery about four strangers who meet in a public library in London, only to find out that they're witnesses to a murder. But the author is also sending chapters back and forth to a fan for his thoughts and comments (sometimes wanted, sometimes not). The framing was interesting because it allowed the pandemic to be in the story without it getting in the way of the plot. And the story within a story was nice and twisty, too!
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Libraries are exciting, fabulous places and adding a murder makes it just a bit more of both. This was an enjoyable read.
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I love a good book-within-a-book premise, and this twisty mystery/thriller is extremely well done. It starts off innocently enough, but then the darkness starts creeping in and it's a page-turner from then on. I got chills up my spine at one point (no spoilers!) and then I couldn't put it down.

This novel feels a bit Hitchcock and a bit Agatha Christie... difficult to pin down and describe but well worth the time spent.
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Sulari  Gentill gives us an action-packed story In The Woman in the Library. In the very beginning of the book we learn that four previously unknown characters share a common experience. While these strangers sit at the same table in the Boston Public Library, they hear a young woman’s scream.  But  the security guard finds no body -  at least not until much later.  These four people bond over the experience as they try to solve the mystery. As the plot continues, it is difficult to put the book down. Every chapter reveals something about Freddie, Cain, Whit, and Marigold and the relationships among them as they try to solve the mystery. Sulari Gentill provides many twists and turns to make your heart race right until the end. I highly recommend this book for both her novel and style of writing.
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I confess. Not unbiased because I really geek the writings of Sulari Gentill. Even if it's not Rowley Sinclair in the story. And even if it's in the same town that Rowley was most recently staying. And besides, one of the *characters* is a library!
This is a very unusual story within a story as well as a mystery within a friendship tale. The publisher's blurb is a little murky, but not bad as hooks go. Don't want to get long winded or give anything away, but I LOVED IT!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
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