Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This book looked like everything I would like in a book. I couldn’t wait to start it, unfortunately I could not get into this book and I’m not sure what it was in the long run. I tried to get into the storyline but it just didn’t hook me and even when I finished the book I’m not sure what I read. I probably won’t pick a book by this author again
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This was a WONDERFUL book that I highly enjoyed!  A scream splits the air.  Four people are in the reading room at the Boston Public Library.  This scream brings the four of them together in unexpected ways.  Will the scream mean that one of them is a murderer, or were they all just caught in a moment?
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Though I typically love a good murder mystery with a group of shifty strangers at the center of suspicion, The Woman in the Library didn't do it for me. The premise is a unique execution of a "story within a story", and the line between manuscript and reality blurs as the plot thickens. I thought this mirroring of fictional vs nonfictional narratives was very interesting and added an edge as you follow both the characters and the novelist as they experience somewhat mirroring mysteries and dangers. I found the divide confusing at times, which I suppose is part of the point, but it did come together and made more sense as the story progressed.

Despite the increase in unsolved crimes and building tension, I struggled to finish the book. I wasn't able to ever truly connect with any of the characters, in part because they felt too one-dimensional and single-minded. The fictional narrator, Freddie, particularly frustrated me. I understand that her commitment and loyalty to her new friends/love interest(s) was meant to facilitate tension by casting doubts on the seemingly obvious explanations, but I found it unconvincing. For a character of her age, maturity, and intelligence, she often throws all reason out the window as she becomes enamored with her new beau and puts herself in perilous situations. Even more frustratingly, she is self-aware that she's acting illogically but still chooses to ignore the valid concerns.

I also almost DNFed when one character's backstory was revealed. SPOILERS AHEAD AND TW: I strongly dislike when characters have an extremely traumatic experience that primarily serves as a plot point or is used to "prove" something about them. I really hated how after Kane tells Freddie that his step-father abused him as a child and attempted to r-word him, she uses this as evidence to everyone else that he is completely innocent in all accords. It was a disappointing portrayal of a serious topic, especially since it was not addressed or concluded in any real healthy way and was solely there as a way to shock readers into feeling sympathy for Kane and be more inclined to believe his innocence along with Freddie. Doubt on the general conclusions about Kane could have been cast in a way that did not involve exploitative trauma and it could have been used to enhance the twists in much more meaningful ways.

In the end, the culmination of frustrations I felt at the characters, plot points, and story decisions made this book difficult to finish. The twist ending, while an interesting turn of events, felt untrue and poorly supported and I didn't find the ending satisfactory.
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This novel was a joy to read. It had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and the characters were layered and entertaining. This was an intelligently written story. It took me a minute to get used to the unique format (an author writing about an author), but ultimately, this format made the story extra unique and compelling.
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this was really fun! i'm from boston so it was really interesting to read a mystery set in my home library. twisty and satisfying
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Very entertaining and enough mystery to keep guessing. A group of college students meets up in the library and hear a scream. The tangle of coincidences and not-so-coincidental follows the group from there.
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This was a DNF at first and then I went back and finished it. HOLY COW I WISH I STUCK WITH IT! I personally didn't like the chapter of what's going on and then the break of like a fan letter. That's not my thing but I kept hearing amazing things about this book so I decided to give it another go. It's a story within a story and it's got the twists and turns of any wonderful thriller/mystery. If you're on the fence, keep going. The next chapter might be the one to convince you to stay. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen for this ARC.
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A story within a story is the best thriller trope out there, and The Woman in the Library doesn't disappoint. Uniquely written and utterly twisty, it's intelligent, high tension, addictive, and unputdownable.
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In The Woman in the Library, the author writes about an author who is writing about an author. Once you wrap your mind around this unique setup, you will love this novel! It's a classic whodunit with the twist of a unique story outside the story, as it were.
THank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this eARC,
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This one was just not for me. I made it halfway then chose to stop. Maybe another time I will try it again. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for my review.
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I was intrigued with the "story within a story" concept for this novel, and felt that Gentill pulled it off reasonably well. My main complaint is I wanted more.  I just didn't feel invested in the characters enough to feel a true sense of suspense or concern for them. And I wanted more of the collaborator's story, a bit more of his background and motives.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with a complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I can’t stop thinking about this book, but not in a good way. I was very intrigued by the concept of a story within a story and that it was set in a library, but I just needed more fleshing out of some storylines and less minute details and weird characters- There was just too much going on and too many nonsense scenes. The supporting characters were not likable, which is fine, but they also brought nothing to the story. There were also a lot of extra details and describing instead of showing, and I’m not sure if those were supposed to be red herrings or not, but I do know is that they were annoying. I had high hopes for this one but it overall fell flat.
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The Woman in the Library
•	Author: Sulari Gentill
•	Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press through NetGalley
•	Publication Date: June 7, 2022
  Wow what an ambitious attempt for any author, I have to give credit for the premise and attempted execution of The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill.  I would have loved to hear the “elevator pitch” of this book, but then again Sulari Gentill is an established author so perhaps the publisher just “went with it”.  The story is actually two, maybe even three stories in one – a story within a story kind of thing.  I continually asked myself is this a mystery or a thriller and the answer is “yes” – one story is more of a mystery but the second seems like a thriller.  
  Between that cover and the premise being a woman appears to be murdered in a library which results in four strangers becoming intertwined in each other’s lives is a promising premise, at least for me.  If that had been the only story, I think it could have been fleshed out and enough for most of us readers.  I also think the added story lines could have been individually fleshed out and perhaps their own books.  But having them all together resulted in a confusing and forced story that was constantly interrupted by the “other” story.  The relationships and conclusions all seemed forced and unrealistic.  
  Being a first for me with such a story or multi story set-up I would be very curious to discuss with others their experience with the book.  I felt like the writing was over all good but the storyline and mechanics felt disconnected and jarring which did not allow me to connect with any of the characters. 

Summary:  Not really one I would recommend, but I would love to talk about with those that have read it.
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The Woman in the Library is the best kind of story. It feels a bit like you're reading a game of Clue or you're at a murder mystery party. It's kind of like book-ception (like Inception, but books!). Plus, it all takes place in a library, which is just the best place to be.  

I couldn't put it down, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh new book to read.
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*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review*

This was a good little  mystery book, but not as good as all the hype I read about it, but a good story nonetheless.
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This was an enjoyable story (perhaps more than one) that held this reader's interest as four people come together in a library after hearing a piercing scream. The four people bond and as our main character, Hannah is writing a book, and she decides to incorporate her newly found friends into the story line. It's something like art imitating life. 

It turns out to be a story within a story within a story and at times I will confess I did find myself confused. However, the concept and carry through made this a tale of a murder done by .......... a fun but circuitous read! (I am not telling.)

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book already published.
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A bit different from what I expected.
I fell that the story was a bit confusion.  Within the story we have an Author writing a story which is chapter by chapter send to an editor who goes from polite suggestion to a more progressive approach.  His attitude is sometimes so sickly sweet that you feel like vomiting.
The author uses the library as her workplace.  A way to observe her characters.  When a scream disturbs her the table occupants become friends having had this joint experience.
The various aspects of the story are well put together and with the unique approach I think it deserves a 4 star it just wasn’t my favorite book but then that has more to do with personal taste then with the book itself.
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Smart, layered, and elegant upmarket suspense novel. I enjoyed the tone, style, themes, and the story within a story. I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would have liked--there was a distance that is simply not my preference--but overall I enjoyed this novel. Recommended.
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I didn't love this book, but I did enjoy the pacing of it. The set-up was unique, in that each chapter was a portion of the author's manuscript sent to a person who was doing research from the setting of her book, and his subsequent responses to the pieces of her manuscript. Very interesting mystery-within-a-mystery, but I was hoping for a more explosive ending. The first half was more of a slow build, then around halfway in a breakthrough finally occurred.

If you are picking up this book because you think it'll be about a woman in a library, with most of the setting happening in the library, you will be disappointed! Most of the book is set around Boston, but the library setting is really complete around 10% into the book.
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The Woman in The Library was an interesting read. It was a little confusing at times figuring out who's point of view you were following, was it a book.within a book or a separate story. The letters sort of through things off for me and it didn't really keep me enthralled.
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