Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this book primarily based on the title and synopsis. I loved the idea of having a crime committed in a library and someone within the close-knit group being the one who committed it. Honestly, it reminded me of the game Clue, which I loved playing growing up. I loved the idea behind the story and enjoyed the interactions between Leo at the end of some of the chapters. I loved the setting because it is somewhere I am familiar with and the author even included one of my favorite restaurants, The Friendly Toast, as a meeting place in a chapter. The writing style was interesting in the fact that the main character was an author writing a novel based on what was happening in her actual life. Beyond that, this novel lost me.

Reading this book was a struggle for me. It took me much longer to get into than I would have thought and therefore, much longer to finish. There were multiple times when I thought about not finishing it, but I knew this review had to be written and trudged on. As the book is named The Woman in the Library, I assumed the setting would primarily be the library and the story would revolve mostly around the murder that happened there. I was wrong. Only the first chapter takes place in the library, and there are only short mentions of this murder as the story progresses. I did not feel that it was the center of the novel and therefore, the title is very misleading. I also didn’t buy that these characters would automatically become engrained in each other’s lives just because of this experience. They automatically become best friends, grab lunch together, fall in love, etc. Freddie doesn’t communicate with anyone else but them from the moment they meet and that to me is just not believable. I was not attached to any of the characters and honestly, I really started to dislike most of them if not all by the ending. I wanted to throw my kindle when reading some of the emails that Leo was sending towards the end because of the racially charged things he was saying. As the story was wrapping up, I thought that one thing was going to happen and was pleasantly surprised when it didn't; however, the ending infuriated me.

I have read rave reviews from some about this book, but for me, it fell very short. I personally would not recommend this book.
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This is a quirky whodunit type of novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I also adored the beginning. When four strangers are sitting together at a table in the library when they hear a blood-curdling scream. The four strangers form a quick friendship while the security is discovering what happened and the woman's body was found. Now, they form a kinsman type of deal to find out what is actually happening.
Now, these four characters aren't actual people they are characters in an author named Hannah's book, and the book is Mailed to a man named Leo chapter by chapter to sort it out and to give feedback. I loved that Leo's feedback is involved in the novel after the chapters. I loved that. I also loved that this book was soo much more than a mystery/thriller type of book, the genre lines are really kinda blurred but it's so neat! I couldn't put this book down! I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure and a good whodunit type of story! Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the extraordinary opportunity to read and review this one!
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The Woman in the Library is an innovative murder mystery novel that twines together two different stories. The bulk of the plot concerns a group of four strangers turned friends who meet in the library when they hear a woman scream. It's later discovered that she was murdered... and the culprit may end up being one of them. This story is also interspersed with short letters written from a man named Leo to a woman named Hannah, who it turns out is the author of the fictional novel that makes up the bulk of this book. What a fantastic way to tell two different stories at once. This was quite suspenseful, with a lot of twists and turns. I was engrossed.
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This book is a story hidden inside a story, definitely giving me Inception vibes as sometimes I couldn't figure out which storyline we were following! Definitely a unique, unconventional and twisty book that involves a murder in a library. Typically, a murder within a library would be my dream plot, but I found that this book was a little difficult to follow and the plot ended up falling flat for me.

thanks netgalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review
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The Woman In The Library  by Sulari Gentill

I found the plot of this book was well-written, with many twists and thrilling to read.  I didn’t care for the switching of telling the story and the letters between Hannah and Leo.  Two Leo’s in the story?  Confusing.
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Although I enjoyed the main story of this book it got quite confusing at times if I didn’t really pay attention.  There is a story within a story within a story.  It is about an author writing about an author and each of their stories have some parallel characters.   Once I got the hang of the format of the book it was easier to read.  The main “who dun it?” aspect was entertaining and I wasn’t able to figure out the killer til the end.
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Unfortunately, this was not an enjoyable reading experience for me. I was really leaning more to a 2⭐️, but thought that was unfair to the book. I started reading it right before I got COVID and the part I had gotten to pre COVID (when Mrs. Weinbaum came to stitch Cain up), I would rate at a solid 3 with hopes of an upward trajectory.

After that I got frustrated with all the characters. And, I felt like I was way ahead of the story Winifred was writing and the criticism/commentary Leo was giving. And there were times when it felt the story was disjointed, but I chalk that up to a couple of fever dreams.
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Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review


The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill is a clever novel that starts with a letter from Leo to an Australian mystery writer.  We then find ourselves in a library, a book lover's oasis, broken by a mysterious scream that catches the inhabitants off guard. The plot is divided in this story within the story. I could not put this down and often read into the night.  I recommend those of you who like mysteries pick it up.
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I really enjoyed “The Woman in the Library.” The way the book switched between the story and the letters was interesting and kept me interested the entire time. I look forward to reading more by this author.
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The Woman In The Library centres around a group of four friends that have a chance meeting that changes their fates.

What I liked most about this book was the unconventional concept of ending every chapter with a letter/mail. Further, it was very suspenseful and had me on my toes until the end.

However, it did have a few rather slow passages that I found were not entirely necessary to the plot. 

I can highly recommend this book!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

2.5 stars. 
I just finished reading these two books in one, the first main story was kind of a mediocre Scooby-Doo YA mystery thriller with the only difference was that we didn't end up with a disguised criminal. The second one, to sum up, was an adult short epistolary mystery thriller about a racist psychopath obsessed by a writer's book, I can't say more in order not to spoil it for the others.

The story in a story thing was interesting but the main plot was a big meh, it didn't felt special for a thriller genre. I could say that there are better things to read than this book. 

One star was just for the cover which was a big waste on this book.
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Good premise, but found the structure confusing to follow at times. Lived in Boston for many years so I loved the setting. Overall, it felt like some plot elements and characters could have been developed more. Nevertheless, it was a fun read that I have already ordered for my library. Curious to hear what my mystery readers will think. Thanks for the opportunity to review!
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I loved this story! It plays very much like a locked-room who dunnit of old thrillers and has an air of nostalgia from the very start. With a compelling story (hello, murder and intrigue!), it will draw you in from the very start.
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This was good! I was interested to figure out who did what, and the added “real life” letters playing out between the “author” and a friend added a fun ✨something extra✨. *I received an advanced copy. All thoughts are my own.
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As a librarian myself, I'm a sucker for any book that has to do with the wonderful and magical place we call the library. Gentill's mystery was unique, compelling, fun, and a quick read! If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, I'd recommend giving this one a go.
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What a dud. Started the ARC after seeing it was a June Library Reads pick but what a huge struggle to make it to the end. Was left feeling like maybe I had missed something because I really didn’t like it.

The dual plot lines wound up being less than compelling. Plot A - Hannah’s draft of a story about murder in the Boston Public Library - was a hard sell because Hannah’s writing just dragged the four cardboard characters around in some odd co-dependent dance. Award for the least interesting romance between two main characters of all time. I felt like Plot B - Leo’s letters to Hannah - was really going to take the story somewhere but I hated the references to the pandemic and how it wrapped up.
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I have tired several times to read this book now and each time I end up putting it down. The style that the book is written just isn't for me.
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I found this story to be an interesting one. While I feel like I have now read about every woman in every possible location, this one stood out slightly among the rest. I truly enjoyed the alternating timelines, but I did struggle a lot with the main character's decisions surrounding her love interest. For someone who was written so intelligently, I found most of her logic around the situation to be incredibly flawed.

Not a bad read overall, but nothing that really came across as something new and exciting.
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I should have DNFed this but I kept going thinking that things will make sense as we go on. The format was very confusing at first but it seemed to eventually click but that didn't really help make the book better for me. The concept was interesting but it felt like it was poorly executed. I could not connect to any of the characters at all and the twist at the end felt rushed.
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Mystery | Adult
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In chatting about it with a friend, I referred to this book as being “pretty meta” – by that, I meant it was self-referential, a mystery about writing a mystery. I wasn’t sure I’d like it at first, but gave it my 50-page rule (as a reader with a huge TBR pile, I commit to 50 pages; as an author you have an obligation to hook me in by then) and am glad I did. I ended up loving the twists and turns and the Agatha Christie-worthy red herrings, though the unveiling of the murderer and motive was a bit of a disappointment. So let’s back up: Australian author Hannah Tigone is writing a mystery; she is in correspondence with Leo, another author, located in Boston, who is eagerly providing background on the location she has chosen for the novel’s setting, since the pandemic prevents her from travelling there herself. In the mystery she is writing, four strangers share a table in the Boston Public Library’s Reading Room when a woman’s scream shatters the silence. Security guards order them to stay in place until the police arrive and interview them; once done, the four tablemates meet up to debrief, and quickly become a close-knit group of friends. One of the four is an Australian mystery writer; one of the four is a murderer. So there are several layers here – the murder mystery itself, the characters, and the “real-life” author who is writing the mystery. Hannah’s correspondence with Leo is an interesting device. It adds a creepiness that lifts the correspondence out of metareference into a plot twist, but it is startling to be continuously yanked out of a fictional mystery into a fictional “real life,” if that makes any sense. Gentill does leverage it into a criticism of racism as well as an interesting window into the writing process. I was also quite fearful of Hannah’s safety as a result! And at the 90% mark, I still had no idea how the novel would end; that’s usually a great sign. But the resolution, as I stated earlier, disappointed me. It’s kind of fun watching these characters make bad decision after bad decision, but the motive for the homicide makes little sense. Overall, an enjoyable story with an original premise, flawed and even over-the-top characters and a well-developed sense of place, marred by an unrealistic ending. My thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for the reading copy provided digitally through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Grand Forks & District (B.C.) Public Library has a copy in its adult mystery collection.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58804928
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