Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

This is one of those books where the synopsis is only a small part of the book. It took some time to figure out what was going on but I was still really curious to see where it was leading. It's basically a story within a story so there are a few subplots and mysteries going on. By 50% I was really invested and couldn't put it down. I was really impressed with Sulari Gentill's writing and the unique story telling format. This is also @libraryreads top pick for the month June as well!

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗶𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗲 𝟳, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮. Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advanced readers copy.
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A unique transition as we read pages from the mystery writer located in Australia then just to letters from her friend in Boston as he reads the chapters she writes. I enjoyed getting to know all the main characters and did have a desire to continue reading to find out who the killer was. 

However, the way it was written, with a first person narrative and then a letter from a friend, didn’t seem to connect everything as easily as I would have liked. Honestly, I was underwhelmed by the story. There was so much jumping around from Leo to the other characters that I lost interest and had to force myself to refocus. I didn’t feel connected to anyone and I think the stopping to read letters from Leo caused that disconnect.

This just wasn’t the right fit for me but I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy this unique mystery.

Thank you Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the chance to read and review this arc.
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Winifred, an Australian living in Boston on a writing fellowship, happens to be in the Boston Public Library Reading Room when a woman's scream immediately bonds her to the 2 young men and 1 young woman sitting at the same table.  The four enjoy the fun of new friendship, while also navigating a series of increasingly disturbing events and coincidences that lead them to question the meaning of friendship and trust.  This mystery captured my attention right away with its likeable characters and mysterious circumstances, and had me guessing until the very end.  A story within the story involves reactions to each chapter addressed to Hannah Tigone, the writer of Winifred's stor,y by Leo, a fan who has offered to assist with local knowledge (he lives in Boston; the writer in Australia), and as the reactions to each chapter from Leo progress, we get the sense that there is much more going on within these communications than was apparent at the beginning.  Extremely suspenseful on multiple levels, I highly recommend this, especially for readers who enjoy literary plots!
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4 Stars

A multi-faceted, meta take on the traditional locked room mystery. Think of this as the equivalent of a book breaking the fourth wall. It was interesting, it was certainly unique in terms of storytelling and format. It was compulsively readable and I really enjoyed it. 

The story that the fictional author is writing and corresponding with her friend Leo about is good. It had all the right stuff for a modern mystery and had good pacing and reveals. I liked Cain immediately and thought the slight romantic aspect of the book was cute, and Marigold and Whit too. The layers of Cain’s past, Whit’s family, and Marigolds slightly stalker behavior were well plotted. As was the death in the library. The reveal of the novel’s killer made complete sense looking back and examining their personality. I also particularly enjoyed the tongue in cheek conclusion to this on the last page. 

Interspersed throughout the novel are letters Leo writes back to the author Hannah, which begin to get more and more odd as they progress. This is where the fourth wall comes in and you get a mystery thriller version. It’s intriguing as a concept and as a way to play around with the traditional version of a murder mystery tale. And I thought that it was satisfyingly wrapped up as well. 

I was given this arc in exchange for a review. Thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley.
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This book was fascinating! It took me a few chapters to get into it and wrap my mind around the book-within-a-book situation that was happening but once I was in, I was hooked and could barely put it down!

This book essentially has two mysteries - the main mystery of the book being written, and the mystery being revealed in Leo's feedback letters at the end of every chapter (that I was not expecting!). I appreciated the ways the author lead you in one direction and then at the end pulled you somewhere different. Both the Leo of the letters and the Leo of the book are mysterious characters that added to the suspense of the story. 

Overall, I enjoyed this thriller and would read more from Sulari Gentill!
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I finished The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill. This book comes out June 7th and I was lucky enough to read it through @netgalley and @poisonedpenpress ! This book includes a story within a story. We are reading a woman’s manuscript as she sends it to her Beta reader. Four strangers are in the library when they hear a woman scream. It brings them together, but one of them is also the murderer! 


This was a really interesting book. I liked the unique element of the story being within a story. It engages the reader in two very gripping stories. It was hard to tell where they were ultimately going to go. I struggled a little with the pacing though. There were certain times the book was fast and then other times it got slow. I wanted it to be a little more consistent. I found the relationship dynamics between the characters to be fascinating. Again the “pacing” there was a little off too. For characters that were strangers and only brought together by a scream they got incredibly close very quickly. It was like their life/connections before they met didn’t exist and they only had each other. I also would have liked to see the author’s interactions with the Beta reader in addition to his responses. My curiosity was definitely piqued throughout the mystery from start to finish. I think it would be perfect for a book club to discuss! 

3.5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

#NetGalley #BookReview #MysteryBook #Books #Library #EBooks #Bookstagram #NewBooks #2022Books #NewBookRelease #SummerReading #Story #SuspenseBooks #Unique
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I enjoyed this book. The plot was well paced and the characters were enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book to friends and would enjoy reading additional books from this author.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC of The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill. I am a fan of closed circle mysteries and the cover of this book caught my eye. I will say that the pacing was a little slow for me. I also felt that the main character was naive and a little shady, but nothing quite explained her history or past (perhaps some clues were red herrings). I don't think the book was for me, but perhaps others will find it their cup of tea. Still, I always appreciate getting a peak at new books in advance and appreciate the labor of love that goes into the book.
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I wasn't engaged in the story, the relationships between the characters or the identity of the killer. I liked the concept of a story within
a story within a story and the writting was good.
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A mystery set inside a library with a writer as the main character? Yes, please. This book is a story within a story and such a unique take on a murder mystery! It was intelligent and sophisticated but also playful at the same time. There were clever little twists that kept the pace fast, complex, and kept me guessing until the end. It gave me cozy Agatha Christie murder mystery vibes but I can’t put my finger on why exactly. If you liked The Maid I would add this one to your TBR list! Pub date is June 7th. Thank you to @poisonedpenpress for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for a review!

3.5 stars!

I really enjoyed how this was written. A story within a story and the emails from Leo giving Hannah tips how to make her story fit and link better with the area she based her story was a nice touch, as you could see her add some of his tips or info into the next chapter.

I had a feeling I worked out how this was going to play out but my own mind took twists and turns so I really enjoyed how it ended.
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What a fun, clever read.

The Woman in the Library is a delightful mashup of Only Murders in the Building and One of Us Is Lying. I wasn’t sure how the story within a story would be, but it was EXCELLENT. Definitely added a layer of tension with how sinister the meta discourse letters grow. Loved the commentary on writing, plot, and real-life events that the letters enable the author to examine. The found family vibes and witty dialogue was a pleasure as well. Definitely more cozy than chilling, and it worked perfectly!

Highly recommend. Eternal gratefulness to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc!

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I don’t even know how to truly write a review for this book. It was written in such a unique way that I haven’t seen before. It’s basically a story about a story in a story… 🤔

We have Hannah, an author, who is writing a murder mystery novel, while also receiving letters from an individual named Leo that consists of feedback on her novel chapter by chapter. About halfway through we get an interesting plot twist. 

I can honestly say I was confused throughout the majority of this book. I think I was maybe looking too far into finding a connection between the two stories, which I didn’t really ever find. By the ending I found that maybe this book would have been better if it just focused on the murder mystery story written by Hannah. The secret letters had build up but no proper execution or link. It really did just feel like reading two separate books in one. 

As for the murder mystery, somewhat predictable and not dark enough for my liking. Unfortunately I just didn’t feel the thrill in this thriller.

Just feeling very ‘meh’ after reading this. Wasn’t a true fan. 

Thank you Sourcebooks for an advanced e-book copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hits shelves June 7th, 2022
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What a fascinating format for a thriller! I’m between each chapter is email correspondence between the fictional author of what we’re reading and a pen pal whom she’s never met and who becomes more and more sinister as the book goes on. I was truly fascinated by this. 

Overall, this was a really good book. Loved the characters and I was never quite sure what would happen next. I recommend!
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Unfortunately I had to DNF this book. It sounded like an amazing premise and I was intrigued but the structure and writing in this book just wasn’t for me. A book about a woman writing a book, about a woman writing a book. It was really hard for me to truly immerse myself into the story. I was very thrown off from page one.
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Sulari Gentill's The Woman in the Library, reels you in from the very first chapter. As the tension builds and the story escalates the reader is prone for the next riveting twist and turn. 

A story, within a story, within a story, The Woman in the Library is an exciting ride. 
With an original plot premise, Gentill's story is well written and executed. 

I did think that there might be more FBI interaction and that we might have had a scene where the villain interacts in person with our author  Hannah. 

Overall enjoyed this book and I rate it a solid 3.5 stars.
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Some of this might be more rant than review and there’s a chance it’s a bit jumbled since I wrote as I went along. I would change it all but.... the book itself is a bit of a jumbled mess so no reason to bother... 

First thoughts... the whole letters/notes from Leo at the end of every chapter is rather irritating. I feel like it would be way more interesting not to know that this is a story within a story or at the very least have these inputs come sparingly. It’s all so very distracting. 

I wanted to read this because it seemed like it would be interesting 4 people meet at the library and are present when a scream is heard that later turns out to have been a murder. After a few chapters though the critique of every chapter is established making this somewhat of a story within a story. It becomes tedious very fast. In the beginning it seemed like it was going to be  4 strangers deciding it’s their business to solve the murder of a woman they don’t know that had nothing to do with them. Thankfully that was really what happened they only got involved when weird things started happening around them. 

I’m willing to admit at some point the Leo letters become slightly less annoying and on occasion he does have good points. From the start though I had the feeling that something about it all seemed off.

The main story doesn’t really start to get interesting until about 25% in, up until that part I was considering giving up on the whole thing. Admittedly I did skip over a bunch of the letters because of their general tediousness. Though even when I read/listen to it every time it gets to those parts I cringe. Seems rather unnecessary to have this whole pandemic narrative added in. It’s not part of the actual story it’s only mentioned in the letters from Leo. 

I have the ebook and audiobook versions of this book and I thought it would be something to listen to until I inevitably switched to reading because I combination read rather often. In this case though the narrator did a great job it was hard to get through this from the start with this whole set up. The only way to keep going with the story for me was to skip over the letters at the end of the chapters they are so tedious when I really wanted to like the book. 

I’ve written this review while reading instead of after like I typically do. Mostly so I didn’t forget what I was complaining about. So I did manage to get to the end spent all of today on this book and though I thought I didn’t like it I actually did. Not the whole book within a book thing that was tedious till the end and highly unnecessary the book worked just fine as it was. Seems like just like Leo advised all the pandemic mentions were added in just to exist in the story. Reading a book literally being critiqued chapter by chapter as you read it is just not a good idea. Without that it was a good story.  Did I guess who the killer was earlier on? Yes... do I think that Freddie’s Leo was likely as much a stalker as the Leo  with his exhausting opinions? Yes... was everybody in this book way too trusting for no reason? Yes!!! Are people from Australia not as suspicious of people? Because I really don’t know... I wanted to shake Freddie constantly. 

So this book was a lot a book about an author being critiqued on the book as it was going and the story in the book being about a writer who was writing her own story featuring her new friends she met in the library while possibly having been close to a murder. It’s all too much but I didn’t hate the actual story though it did just kind of come to an abrupt end. 

The only question I have at the end of this is: Did Whit’s mother know who attacked her?
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The Woman at the Library by Sulari Gentill is an interesting book.  It took me a while to get into the story.
Four people at the library are linked after hearing a scream.  It turns out the woman was found murdered.  
The main character is in Boston on a fellowship to author a book.  There is another story threaded throughout which really confused me, a writer in Australia is emailing back and forth with a man named Leo.
The main story about the 4 new friends with the murder at the library was very good and I enjoyed it.  The second storyline for me took away from the main story. The writing was particularly good, and the main story kept me reading.   I do recommend the book.
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I really really really liked he way this one started. I feel like I say that about Gentill's work often. Equally often, I seem to find myself struggling a bit with the wind ups she offers... That was the case here also. 

After an absolutely stellar start and a really fabulous construct, things started to slowly lose their grip a little bit but managed to stay tight enough for the vast majority of the book that I really thought this was going to be the one to break the chain for me with her work. Unfortunately I found the wrap up here to feel like it was written on a different pace - and with a different set of expectations - than the preceding 70/so% of the book, and that bright it to a solid 3 stars for me. 

She is a talented writer and she has a vivid imagination and magnificent ideas. But it seems as though she tries to wrap things up by throwing lots of drama in when it comes to the big reveals, to the detriment of the overall story. Sometimes less really is more. It makes things feel unnecessarily convoluted and requires more suspensions of disbelief then the story can handle, and the result is an uneven story. 

It's not an enjoyment-killing level of uneven. I did still quite enjoy this one on the whole, and I will definitely keep reading her books (this was the best of them so far to my mind). I do hope she will consider paring down the layers a bit in her endings though, to pace them more evenly with her magnificent setups, in which case she will hit every book out of the park...
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Why does this book remind me of Friends but with a murder thrown in the mix? 

Four strangers hear a suspicious scream in the Boston Public Library and are immediately bonded by the experience. From then on, this group of individuals become fast friends and together unravel the mystery of the Woman in the library. 

Set in the grim and prim city of Boston, The Woman in the Library is a contemporary murder mystery. The book manages to keep the antique feeling of classic novels like Murder on the Orient Express while introducing modern elements. 

The main characters in this novel are the friend group everyone secretly wants to have. Gentill creates an effortless comradery between the characters that draws you into their circle and has you rooting for them. The playful banter carries this book and is what keeps you reading during lulls in the plot. For me this novel’s biggest strength was the characters. They felt so, so real and I wanted them as my own friends. The dialogue between them was perfection and came off very authentic. The dynamic Gentill created is what really reminded me of the TV show Friends. It was lighthearted and fun but also addressed real life problems and struggles people face. 

One can’t review this book without addressing the letters that are exchanged back and forth between a mysterious author and her fan as a side plot. I liked the idea of this, Leo’s voice was strong and evoked emotions from me. However, I don’t know how much it added to the story itself. I had hoped it would have connected to the main story more but nonetheless it was an interesting part of this book. 

Admittedly, I guessed the big reveal early in the book but that didn’t deter me from continuing to read it. I didn’t find the murder mystery aspect of this book super gripping, but I don’t think that was the point of the story. It felt more about the process of a group people being brought together by a murder and I really enjoyed that. Although I wouldn’t have minded a little more action. 

Overall, a fun read that approaches murder mystery in a new way. I would recommend this to both mystery and nonmystery lovers! In fact, if you’re looking to broaden your reading horizons and want to try a mystery – this would be a good starting point.
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