Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

This book is best enjoyed over a long period of time (so 3 days for me), letting all of the tension seep into your bones. Alternating between chapters from a manuscript and feedback from a critique partner, Sulari Gentill builds a story riddled with anxiety as Freddie attempts to solve a locked door murder in the Boston Public Library. But rather than sit in the library for the entirety of the story, they're able to leave its confines and that's where the story truly begins. All of the characters are compelling and likable in their own ways, and each given a good reason to be suspected. My only qualm is with how rushed the ending was - I didn't feel as though all of the motivations were fleshed out enough. However it's all worth it for the final passage from Leo (one of my favorite characters honestly!)

I'd recommend this to fans of Agatha Christie who want a little bit more darkness in their mysteries.

*Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review*
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This book was written so neatly. The varying POVs between the chapters written and Leo’s letters and getting to watch the escalation in Leo’s letters made this book fun to read. 

Who you think the murderer is tends to weave between the characters all throughout the book and keeps you guessing. The characters were all interesting in themselves and had quite the personalities. I must say I had a hard time tolerating Marigold and her stalkerish and overreactive tendencies. It was a bit much. 

But, again, I loved the writing style. It isn’t what you see every day and it was refreshing.
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Four strangers are in the Reading Room of the Boston Public Library when a scream rings out through the library.  Later, a woman is found dead in an obscure part of the library, and the four people bond over the events of the day.

Told in two voices—narrative and epistolary, which was a very different way to set up a book.  I really liked it—we jump between Hannah’s story and the emails from what appears to be an alpha reader—but I can see this format is not going to be for everyone.  It worked for me, though!  I love discovering different styles of writing.  The only thing that felt weird is we never really get to know Hannah, the author of the story.  The way the book is set up there really isn’t a way to get to know her. 
Still, I really enjoyed this book!
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I loved this book! It sucked me right in from the beginning. The author skillfully sent the reader (me) through all the right emotions and suspicions. At one time or another I suspected each character of the murderers. The use of the frame story  of correspondence between a man and an author was perfect! Gentill knows how to regulate the amount of tension and suspense needed at each moment. The chilling ending hints at something more after the story...or is that just a byproduct of the frame story? I eagerly await anything else this author writes.
I received an advance review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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I was intrigued by the description of this book. The setting: the Boston Public Library reading room. The plot: a locked-room mystery involving a group of people who are in the reading room when a woman is murdered in a nearby room; they hear her scream and want to solve the crime. On top of that (and the feature that I found most intriguing) the story takes place inside another story, as the author corresponds with a fan who becomes a stalker, a kind of metafiction. And writing itself becomes a major part of the story. (The fan also becomes a character in the story.)

In the end it didn't totally work for me. The ongoing relationship with a pushy fan who has an exaggerated sense of importance seemed implausible though it did provide a layer of suspense. The mystery itself seemed a bit drawn out though the slowly revealed information about the key characters was fairly effective. There was something about the protagonist that grated on me as she pronounced on the writing craft. But it's a clever idea and no doubt will appeal to readers who enjoy new takes on the classic locked room mystery.
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First, any story that surrounds you with books or authors is something I want to pick up. Then adding a clue like an element to the story made it even better. 
It did take a bit to get used to the format of this with multiple storylines happening at the same time, but once I got into the groove, it was great!
A quick read that won't disappoint and more so if you're looking for a mystery/thriller.
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A murder mystery starting in the Boston Public Library's reading room? Sounds perfect. As I started reading I was a bit confused with the embedded narrative but kept reading with hopes of being able to untangle it all. As I progressed the book within a book (within a book?) style became way too much. I kept reading, thinking that the ending would either tie everything together in a way that was going to blow my mind, or I was going to be super let down. Unfortunately, it was the latter.
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This was my first thriller in a while, and I am so glad that this is the book I chose to break that thriller slump! It only took one chapter for me to be hooked and start to ask all sorts of questions. The first of which was, “What on earth is going on?”.  I will admit that it took me a couple chapters to fully understand the format of the story and the fact that there were two different plot lines going on. One of the plots followed a story being written, the other followed a series of letters being written to the author as they wrote the story. I soared through this book because there was always something interesting happening, and there was never a slow moment. 

It is hard to comment on the letters to the author without spoiling anything, so I will keep quiet on that front. I will, however, comment on the characters within the story. Most of them were interesting and I learned just enough about them during each chapter to keep me not only interested, but also emotionally invested. The more emotionally invested I became, the more stressful it became as the story neared the ever important reveal. 

The story took so many different twists and turns, that by the end of the story, nothing was as it first appeared. Despite the many twists and turns and my constant second guessing of my own theories, I was mildly disappointed by the conclusion. With so many options and so much complexity in the earlier chapters, I was let down by the motive and reasoning behind the crime. Maybe I just had things over complicated in my head, I was just hoping for more. 

Even though there were a few parts that disappointed me, I overall enjoyed The Woman in the Library. It is perfect for anyone who is looking for a quick read that is not easily put down. 

3.5/5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I want to first thank the publishers and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book as an ARC.

This book only confirmed that when done well, Mystery/Thrillers are my favorite genre to read. 

This book follows Winifred, as she tries to solve a murder. Winifred is a writing and uses the people in her life as inspiration, but things get interesting when she becomes friends with the 3 other people that were in the library at the time of the murder. 

This book is unlike anything I have every read. You are reading the novel that Hannah is writing, about the murder in the library while also reading emails, from Hannah's friend Leo who is helping/critiquing her work chapter by chapter. It really makes the reader wonder what is real and what is fiction. I will admit this style was a little hard to get into but once I figured out how the story was written I was fine, and hooked. 

I appreciate that you are following allow as new information is coming to light, and you really don't know what is going on until the end during the "big reveal." This book does do a good job of giving the reader enough to make their own guesses on who the killer is but not to much where I was personally able to figure it out. 

If you want a quick, suspenseful read, that has a great payout at the end I would highly recommend.
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Gripping, chilling , bingeworthy! I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The epistolary element was so unique and the characters were very likeable. The main POV was interesting, and her story arc swept the story in an interesting direction. This book has a strong plot and interesting characters. I would recommend it to thriller readers. Thank you to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review
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This book was very twisty and clever and is sure to be a favorite of whodunnit mystery fans. The title alone will undoubtably draw in many book lovers.

I was slightly confused in the beginning. There are actually two storylines contained in this book. Each chapter began with a narrative around four main characters that met while sitting at the same table at the library. They hear a scream and learn that there has been a murder in the library. Friendships and relationships quickly form within the group of four and secrets are eventually revealed while they try to solve the murder. Then, at the end of each chapter there is an email from a writer in Boston, Leo, to a writer in Australia, Hannah, who is writing the story about the four amateur sleuths and the murder in the library. And this is the second storyline. All this aside, this book really piqued my interest, as there were two mysteries going on at once and therein contained twice as many secrets. I don't want to give anything away, so you'll just have to read the book yourself to find out what I mean.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for allowing me to read a digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Publication date: June 7, 2022.
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This is told in a style I've never read before and I really enjoyed it. It's different and I liked following two different stories at once. I thought the book was engaging and it kept my attention, though the ending was a bit lackluster.

The beginning is a bit slow and didn't play out like I was expecting. I thought the entire book would take place in the reading room at the library and was surprised when it expanded to all of Boston and occurred over weeks instead of one day. I felt like a lot of the story was Freddie's relationship with the other three characters and the mystery wasn't quite as front and center as I hoped, though there is another plotline happening that I was totally invested in. I don't want to give it away, so you'll just have to read the book to see what I'm talking about!

After so many clues and people being attacked and murdered, the ending didn't quite live up to what I imagined. Part of it felt a bit out of left field and the other resolved too easily after what we'd seen. It was still an entertaining story and I'd recommend it just for the unique way it's written.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for the copy
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A group of 4 people are drawn together when they heard a woman scream in the library and the next day ends up dead. The four people rapidly form a group and befriend each other, determined to find out what really happened in the library. But that is not all! this is a novel within a novel. Parallel to the main story we have Hannah and Leo. Hannah is the writer of out story and Leo is a beta reader who provides feedback and commentaries. Hannah is an Australian writing her novel through the pandemic, and Leo is her informant in the US who helps her because she cannot travel.

The concept was super interesting and I really liked reading the novel along Leo. I thought his interventions gave the novel a very interesting dynamic and more dimension to the story. 

The characters were very well constructed in my opinion and they had such different voices, but they were not very likeable. Marigold was definitely my favourite. Freddie made me a bit nervous at times, and you could tell that Cain had so many secrets. As for Leo, It was disturbing to see how the content of his emails changed little by little.
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As strangers Freddie, Cain, Marigold, and Whit are sitting in the Boston Public Library, a woman's terrified scream is heard. They all look to one another to figure out what they just heard and from there, a friendship emerges between the four - but one of them is a murderer. Throughout this book, the four new friends are trying to piece together what happened and as more and more secrets begin to spill out, you're left wondering which of these four did it.

This book is written in an interesting format - the main story between the four friends is actually a fictional novel being written by a woman named Hannah. At the end of each chapter about these four is a letter to Hannah written by a man named Leo who is reading and providing insight for each chapter of Hannah's book. But Leo has secrets of his own - so throughout this book you're left solving a mystery of a mystery and it makes for an interesting ride.

I don't think I've read a book like this before, though I know there are a couple out there. I found the way it was formatted to be both interesting and at times slightly confusing to remember that the tale of the four strangers was actually a fiction story - especially because Freddie, of the fiction novel, is actually writing a story within the story. Sounds confusing, right? But eventually it will click in and make much more sense.

I really enjoyed the mystery and didn't guess who the murderer actually was, I was convinced it was another character so that just added to the fun at the end. I'm not sure I cared much about the letter writing between Hannah and Leo though it did take an interesting turn as well. But I'm not sure if it added or detracted from the main story. Each time I got to another letter from Leo (who increasingly became very irritating - which was the point) - I just wanted to rush through it to get back into the story of the four main characters. All in all, this one was a fun ride and would be perfect for sitting at the side of the pool this summer.

This book will be featured on episode 42 of the Reading Through Life podcast, available June 8, 2022.
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Freddie goes to the Boston Public Library to find her muse to write her book. As she is sitting with three strangers, they hear a woman scream. Bonded by that scream, they all become friends. However, once a woman's body is found in the library a day later, the friend's fingers begin to point to one another and those bonds begin to unravel. 

If I had one word for this book it would be bland. Unfortunately, I wasn't pulled in as much as I hoped I was. It was a quick read, the characters were naive, and it was easy to figure out who was the culprit. The only reason I am giving this two stars is that I actually liked the letters in between the chapters between Hannah and Leo. Now, that was a book I'd read and enjoy.

Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Outstanding read! I love the story inside a story first time I’ve read anything like this. The writer and publishing aspect of this book was interesting and brought with it a new perspective to this thriller. 

I enjoyed the characters and how they all interacted with each other. I tried a few time to figure out who did it but was not at that hard conclusion till the end when it was revealed. 

The ending left me a little confused as why? I can’t say much more to not give it away. I will definitely read more from this author.
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Thank you Netgalley and publisher for an eARC in exchange for my honest review. The Woman in the Library will set to publish on June 7! 

Oof- all aboard the struggle bus. This is getting a low rating because I could not handle this book. The synopsis of this book was more organized than this book. I thought I would get a standard murder mystery book but set in the Boston Public Library. Maybe a nice blend of Clue and Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. 

This book started a little bumpy with all the descriptions but I just figured- laying the groundwork for the murder. Then there were random emails that threw me off. I then realized that this is a book about a book about a book. Yikes- we have Inception but in book form. 

I could never attach to the story and could care less about the murder because there was A LOT going on with this book. I felt like I needed a notebook to try to keep tabs on everything. This may be good for the reader that likes very complex stories or has read other books that have a book within.
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This story encompassed a unique element at the end of every chapter--beta reader feedback from a man named Leo. It added a depth of complex mystery to the already mysterious story that drew me in and hooked me. 

So, we have two deeply mysterious stories unfolding: one between the author and her critique partner through emails and the other through a cast of new friends in Boston that began with a startling murder in the library. I was wholly consumed in both to the point I absolutely hated putting this book down every night to sleep. Some nights I didn't. 

The characterization was phenomenal--well-rounded believable folks with flaws, failures, secrets, odd behaviors, and charm. The writing was superb--no tangents, no purple prose. Everything forwarded the plot, connected, deepened the mystery, and heightened the suspense. This story's plot was fresh, unique, completely original, and it totally blew me away. The pacing flowed perfectly. 

I don't think I can say enough good things about how much I loved this book. Nothing seems to do justice how excellent it was. While in one story I knew who the murderer was and was simply awaiting the authorities to swoop in and detain the bad guy for his dastardly crimes while hoping the innocent involved didn't get caught in a sticky web, in the other I jumped from character to character, always suspecting one or more but never quite sure who the culprit truly was. 

"I understand his need to link every thread into a web of story, his distrust of letting things unfold. He understands, probably better than I, that a story can turn on you."
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This is just one of those books that I liked, but didn't love. Was ok. I just never really clicked with it.

The premise was intriguing, the characters were quirkly and overall it was good, I just don't think it will stick with me longterm.

Thank you netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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This was an intriguing premise, with strong writing and good pacing. I liked that at one point or the other I suspected all of the characters in the fictional story--including the narrator. That story was fleshed out and worked well, but I did wish there had been more to the story in the letters; I kept waiting for some sort of interesting twist there, but it didn't come. Still a very enjoyable read.
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