Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The Woman in the Library, had a lot going on. The story is from an aspiring authors perspective, which has interludes in form of letters written to a published author who is penning the story we are reading.... It is as convulated as it sounds, atleast for first half of the book.

It does have an intriguing mystery in the story and interlude part which was executed beautifully... I was impressed with how everything turned out, the twists were actually unexpected and surprising and that element is what made this story stand out.

In a nutshell, 4 strangers in a library minding their own business, a scream interrupts their day and the incident brings them together. At first they are all casually hanging out, sometimes discussing the library incident but otherwise normal and unassuming. Until our and her new friend are targeted and things are no longer just black and white anymore.
Past is unveiled, present is threatened as Noone know who to trust and there's killer amongst them.

On the other hand the interludes we deal with a very annoying character, (the author nailed psychopathic character) who gets shadier with every chapter.


* The opening page was really hard to get through for me, it took me 4 attempts to till today to actually proceed beyond that. It had a lot of description and the internal monologue wasn't very interesting to read unfortunately.

* The interludes overall was a cool thing and there was a mystery going on in email form, I enjoyed it although I did skim through the first few because I'd believed it had nothing to with the story.

* The whole combo of story within a story within a story....made the book seem a little dense, it had a lot going on for 1 novel in my opinion.
However, the crime-mystery of the interludes escalates slowly till all of sudden you see things getting a little disturbing, but as a reader you think oh it's for a crime writer, then you see that something is actually not right and sinister. I loved how the letters exchanged, albeit not as intriguing as the story itself, it still manages to capture your attention and by unconsciously seeding doubts.

It was impressive.

*Personally, the book cover doesn't do the story justice, it's a pretty cover but doesn't capture the essence of the book.

*As much as I'd loved the execution of the mystery, I wasn't fan of the writing style and I'd a hard time connecting to any of the characters.

*We have the 4 characters including our MC and unfortunately I wasn't able to connect with any of them, I feel the penpal (from the interludes) acting as a story critics really distracted from the flow of the story and it was confusing to read at the beginning.

* I'd have like an epilogue which showed them meeting up in the aftermath (maybe back in the library).

All in all, a impressively constructed crime & mystery novel, its unpredictable and keeps you on your toes. I just wasn't able to connect with characters and the format of the story was a little distracting although clever and original but I wasn't expecting it and took me a while to realize why it was this way.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to netgalley for the arc.

Library, murders, mystery? Seeing the Woman in the Library on netgalley was an instant "SIGN ME UP" moment. 

But although there was an interesting mystery and an unusual structure, the story didn't shine as well as its synopsis. The idea of interspersing a novel with letters from a (beta) reader is intriguing and definitely different, but often it interrupted the flow of the main narrative. I'm not sure how else this second story could have been woven in that would have been any better, however.

A few times I had to remind myself to suspend my disbelief to keep reading (so I could enjoy the main character and the mystery). These moments were usually because of the relationships. Maybe it's because I don't typically read romance but I found it hard to believe how quickly the relationship/s between characters developed because the timeframe of the book seemed quite short.

So, the BEST bits?
- Reading about the MC's writing process! The bus is a fantastic analogy and works so well to weave writing into a narrative.
- The MC, despite her down the rabbit hole relationship, was fresh and interesting.
- Unique structure idea.
Was this review helpful?
A novel within a novel, this book was inventive and interesting. It has a slower start but as the pace picked up, my intrigue kicked in and I wanted to see who the murderer was and what happened with the writing pen pal. It’s a good read to finish over a relaxing weekend.
Was this review helpful?
What a marvellous murder mystery! I'm not sure there's anything I didn't like about this novel. The one-sided epistolary framing, the structure, the plot...I loved it all. It's tight, suspenseful, the framing addresses so many things that the reader might be thinking as the plot thickens, and keeps the reader entranced chapter by chapter. I'm going to be recommending this book widely.
Was this review helpful?
This magical, wonderful, clever book works so well because the characters are so uniquely drawn. I loved the Boston Public Library setting--and it functions almost as a "locked room" mystery. Gentill keeps you guessing all the way to the end for a truly satisfying reveal. I love Sulari Gentill's storytelling and look forward to her next book with great anticipation!
Was this review helpful?
"π‘Šπ‘’ β„Žπ‘’π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘ β„Žπ‘’π‘Ÿ π‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘š. 𝐴 π‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘š 𝑖𝑠 π‘ π‘’π‘π‘π‘œπ‘ π‘’π‘‘ π‘‘π‘œ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘›π‘” β„Žπ‘’π‘™π‘, π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑀𝑒 β„Žπ‘’π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘ β„Žπ‘’π‘Ÿ π‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘š."

What immediately drew me to the book was its title. The title alone was pretty intriguing, and I was hoping against hope that I'd get approved for it to find out what it stands for. 


✨A book inside a book. Awesome, right?
It's actually pretty interesting. 

✨Leo giving his input on Hannah's book, saying exactly what's on my mind, correcting her on the U.S terms, places, eateries. Personally, I like that. 

✨The writing style was pretty addictive, fast paced and building suspense. I loved it. 

✨Plot twists within plot twists within plot twists. Makes no sense, right? That's the point. 


✨Saying "if this were a book..", that's a personal pet peeve.

✨One of the characters confiding in a possible suspect. That was just dumb. 

✨Mentions of the fires in Australia and then worldwide pandemic repeatedly. I mean I'm reading to escape, not to be reminded of current real life events. 

✨Leo trying to push Hannah to write about the virus.

"π‘Œπ‘œπ‘’ π‘šπ‘¦π‘ π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘¦ π‘€π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘  π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘π‘‘π‘–π‘π‘’ π‘Ž π‘‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘˜ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘‘π‘Žπ‘™ π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘, 𝑏𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑑'𝑠 π‘ π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘›π‘”π‘’π‘™π‘¦ 𝑠𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑒."

ℝ𝔸𝕋𝕀ℕ𝔾: ⭐⭐⭐.5/5

I'll certainly be looking out for more books by the author! 

Thank you @netgalley & @poisonedpenpress for this ARC in exchange for an honest reviewπŸ’•
Was this review helpful?
A murder mystery within a story within an email correspondence – The Woman in the Library builds suspense masterfully on many levels.

The Woman in the Library is much better if you go in blind, so I won’t be giving any of the story away, but I will say that I was hooked from the beginning. Well, to be honest, in the beginning, I thought there was something wrong with my eARC as it starts with an email from an early reader to an author. But, trust me, there isn’t something wrong with your book – it will all make sense very soon.

I love to claim that a book is predictable, so it pains me to say that I changed my mind about the murder mystery aspect at least three times. I eventually figured it out, but it took me much longer than I’m proud to admit. Nevertheless, both elements of the narrative twisted together wonderfully to build suspense and intrigue.

Unique and difficult to put down, I would highly recommend The Woman in the Library.
Was this review helpful?
I am not a super big fan of "story within a story" . It felt a little bit like Clue and who done it, which was nostalgic. The plot was decent. It kept me interested but I felt like the story within a story kind of disrupted the flow of the book. It takes the reader out of moments that could really build and be tense. I finished because I wanted to know who did it.
Was this review helpful?
As an Australian, there is so much about this book that I appreciated immensely. I loved how the cultural differences and referential differences were highlighted, as it’s always something I notice as a reader! 

I enjoyed that there were in a sense two narratives, one playing out traditionally and the other by way of an exchange of letters. 

I think this book was incredibly creative and I know many murder mystery fans will enjoy it! Congratulations to the author.
Was this review helpful?
This was interesting premise. A mystery writer writing about a mystery writer who gets involved in a murder investigation. (A murder in the library?! Sign me up!) 

I enjoyed this one, but it took a while for me to get into it. I read an ARC, so I'm wondering if some of the disconnect was due to formatting. I had a hard time figuring out the "story within a story" pieces at first (is this really happening? Or is this the book?). If the confusion was by intentional design, I wasn't a fan of that aspect. I am interested enough to check out the physical copy when it's available to test my hypothesis. :) Something as simple as chapter headings would have helped a lot.

Even with my slight confusion at times, I thought it was worth the read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing an advanced readers copy.
Was this review helpful?
i really enjoyed this book!! it was so much fun to read, especially in the summertime!! thank you so much to netgalley for letting me read this one early!!!
Was this review helpful?
This is one of the unique books I have read which is 'a story within a story'. Two plotlines that converge.  It has a library, a murder, writers and manuscripts - everything a reader wants in a book. 

Hannah Tigone is an Australian mystery writer who is writing a book set in Boston. In her book four strangers bond when they hear a woman scream and later her body is found in the Boston Public Library. Friendships are formed but who can they trust? Everyone has their own reasons to be in the library that day. One of them is also a murderer. 

Hannah has Leo Johnson as a beta reader who reads the chapters of her novel as she completes them and he emails his critiques back to her. Only as the chapters progress his emails become more dark and obsessive. 

The Woman in the Library was a smart and clever mystery which kept me entertained. I just had to know who did it!!  It was fun to play the guessing game. I could not guess the killer though. I enjoyed the cast of characters, getting to know their motivations, suspicions and their unease. They were not at all what they seemed. 

Highly recommend this captivating and original locked room mystery. 

The book is out now. I am super late to post this review though. Thank you @poisonedpress and @netgalley for the digital ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I really thought I would enjoy this more after reading the description and seeing rave reviews for this. I expected this to be a locked room mystery set inside a library, but it proved to be much more than that. I did find the ending to be pretty surprising as I did not see it coming, but found myself wanting this to move along a bit quicker. The characters were pretty interesting but did lack some development so I wasn't overly attached to any of them or their stories. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was so intrigued by this book that I finished it in one day! I love stories within stories. It reminded me of those house of mirrors where the reflections go back and forth and deeper and deeper until you find the real one. 
The author, Sulari Gentill, writes a story about Hannah, an author, writing a story and sending it to a fellow writer, Leo, for feedback. In Hannah's story, Freddie, who is also a writer, bonds with fellow library goers to solve the mystery of the "Woman in the Library" after they hear a frightening scream leading to a murder . I love how Gentill used the email conversations had between Hannah and Leo into the story about Freddy, making the stories intertwine a bit more. If you are looking for an interesting, unique thriller, this is your book! Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy!
Was this review helpful?
I thought this book was such a good exploration of unique structure. Interspersed with the story was email correspondence from Leo, a fan, to the fictional author, Hannah. We learn that Hannah is sending Leo chapters of her novel WIP as she writes them, and he replies with feedback. Pretty soon we learn that Leo has some dark secrets of his own, and the subplot with him ramps up in time with the conflict in Hannah's manuscript. I loved the parallels there. It elevated this story beyond your typical mystery/thriller. There were some inconsistencies and not-quite-fleshed-out elements of the narrative, but you could explain that away with it being Hannah's draft. I thought that was clever as well as kind of an easy out. But it still worked for me. I would recommend this to anyone writing in this genre, as well as students of genre/contemporary literature in general.
Was this review helpful?
πŸ“šβ€”Book Reviewβ€” πŸ“š

Title: The Woman in the Library
Author: Sulari Gentill
Publisher: Poison Pen (Sourcebooks)
Genre: Literary Mystery

Book lover’s have I got a story for you!  What a clever, intelligent, tense and addictive story The Woman in the Library is.  I guarantee this is unlike any other mystery you’ve read before.  So unbelievable unique is this β€œstory within a story” concept.

The book opens with very a chilling β€œDear Hannah…” from a letter from beta reader Leo Johnson, to Australian author Hannah Tigone, a mystery author writer who cannot travel to Boston due to Covid restrictions.  In this modern age of writing, of course author’s have β€œgoogle” but there is no substitute for hands on information.  Being a foreigner Hannah wants to make sure she gets the lingo and social commentary correct on current events happening now.  Leo’s letters are sprinkled all throughout the book.

The other part of the book is the actual book Hannah is writing!  How freaking cool.  It opens up in the Boston library very quiet reading room with a woman’s terrified SCREAM!  Everyone is told to stay put and suddenly a foursome at a table in this reading room becomes friends and scooby doo gang of sorts.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ solid stars!  It was Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick!  I kid.  But it did feel a little like the game of Clue and I was all for it.  I listened to the audiobook and it was so good!  Very addictive.  The @bookfriendsbookclub had the privilege of meeting with Sulari and she was an absolute delight.  We could’ve talked for hours.  It was like talking to a friend you’ve known for years.  I can’t wait for your next book Sulari!  Right here in Kansas!!!  If you need a beta reader…hahaha…

Thank you netgalley + publisher!
Was this review helpful?
A story within a story, within a story.  A fascinating crime novel with so many layers, it will keep you guessing until the end. 
Four strangers in the Boston Public Library hear a blood-curling scream, and it bonds them together. Then, they discover that the screamer was murdered - and the mystery commences.  Hidden agendas, secret longings, and a whole lot of red herrings make this mystery a compelling one. Who murdered the woman in the library? 
As the story develops, we also get a glimpse into the writing life of the author, and find that art might imitate life just a little too closely...
A great read for those mystery readers that want to shake things up a bit.
Was this review helpful?
So different and engaging! I feel you can't properly convey how unique this book is without ruining its charm, so I wont, but believe me, it is great. Part mystery, part lit fic, part dual timline-ish-ness? Now I am making up words I think. But really, just read it, its so good! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
***Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
A story within a story. This was a twisty and clever mystery that had me guessing until the end!
Was this review helpful?
This book had tremendous promise--a story within a story, the most unreliable of narrators--but ultimately, it didn't really stick the landing.  I loved the setting, and several of the characters.  I just wish it had a more satisfying final arc.
Was this review helpful?