Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

The Woman in the Library is a bit unexpected in the fact that it’s a book about a book … within a book. Mystery lovers will be pulled in immediately when a scream shatters the quiet in the Boston Public Library reading room. While security guards investigate, four strangers all seated together strike up a conversation - and a friendship …and one of them is a murderer.

Mystery writer Hannah Tigone is writing this book from Australia, unable to travel to Boston for research due to Covid restrictions. She sends her chapters to Leo Johnson, a beta reader in the city, for help with locations and lingo. Each chapter of Hannah’s book ends with correspondence from Leo who is becoming increasingly invested in the mystery - and Hannah herself.

While many aspects of the story make it clever, there is must about both story lines that felt ridiculous/contrived. I never cared about any of the characters, their instant friendship felt awkward and forced, and did no one have a job? They literally all meet in the library one day and then spend every day afterward meeting up to discuss the strange events that have brought them together. All that said, I kept right on reading to see where this was going and was underwhelmed overall.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Woman in the Library is scheduled for release on June 7, 2022.

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A murder thriller in the Boston Public Library grabbed my attention! It was little tough getting started into the book. The whole ‘a story within a story within a story’ concept was complex. It took me a bit to get it, having to re-read the beginning chapters again. Each chapter had another author providing feedback, I didn’t see those to be beneficial to be included in the book. The book was unpredictable, exciting once it picked up mid-way. I do recommend if you enjoy a thought provoking mystery thriller! Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the advanced copy.

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The concept of this was intriguing, and the plot was interesting enough, but unfortunately I really couldn't get into this book. I guessed the murdered within the first scene, and I found the writing to be a bit rudimentary.

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The email exchanges betweent the main character and her follower, Leo, were very well done. It was interesting that Sulari Gentill used the fan's real name as a character in the story line. I know authors do that now and it was nice to see that happen in a novel. The story was engaging and quite the page turner.

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Un giallo medio, che scorre senza appassionare particolarmente, e che ha la sua parte migliore nel giallo sotterraneo che si dispiega nelle email di un fan sempre più agguerrito dell'autrice. I personaggi del romanzo sono troppo stereotipati, e nonostante il continuo citare luoghi e locali (ma non mangiano mai a casa, questi?) non ho nemmeno sentito l'atmosfera di Boston, se non per l'inverno gelido.
Peccato, perché mi piace molto l'idea del romanzo nel romanzo (non nuova, ma sempre d'appeal per me, come un buon mistero della camera chiusa) e la premessa dei quattro sconosciuti che stringono amicizia legati da un mistero è molto carina.

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It's been a while since I read a good old mystery. Well, a mystery within a mystery, technically. This book kept me second-guessing throughout the entire ride. And what a ride it was.

Gentill's way of weaving together both narratives was seamless, both in its subtle unpeeling of the characters and in its epistolary unfolding of the story within the story. As someone who enjoys slow-paced novels, I felt as though the lack of haste gave us a chance to gain more insight into each of the characters than we might have had the pace been quicker. It also tricked us into finding details to latch onto, to grow suspicious of, which gave the novel an almost interactive feeling to it at times.

My only real complaint (one that I assume will be rectified by the time this book reaches shelves) was the amount of typos scattered throughout the novel. As a reader, it distracted me from the story, and as an editor, it irked me to no end. Aside from that, I found this book to be delightful, so much so that I read it in a single Sunday.

If you're looking for a fun modern-day mystery with a twist, then I would heartily recommend this novel. I'll definitely be having a gander at Gentill's other works.

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I loved the fact that this one had a Boston setting, it was fun to revisit some of the landmarks of the city through this book. Notably, the Boston Public Library plays a key role. One day a scream rips through the quiet of the library and four strangers studying at a table bond over the event.

What follows next is a clever book-within-a-book concept as we get to know Freddie, an Australian writer, as she writes her book – which just happens to feature those strangers she was observing at the library. They become friends through the book and give Freddie more writing material as she works to solve a murder!

This one has an interesting cast of characters; we also meet Leo as he writes to one of his favorite authors offering his advice on her book. Hannah, the famous Australian author, is working on a murder mystery set in Boston (sound familiar?). After we read each of Hannah’s chapters, we read Leo’s advice, which increasingly takes on more sinister tones.

This one kept me on my toes and had a unique and intriguing premise.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for the copy of this one to read and review. Scheduled to publish on 6.7.2022.

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Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 stars

Wow! Freddie and Hannah’s dual story was very engaging (even though Hannah’s story was very one sided). I loved the double mystery and twists and turns that Freddie goes through. It left the reader trying to guess next steps but also trying to keep up.

The 4/5 main characters are well described and fleshed out. I appreciated we got to know more about them as the story went on. Especially since they became friends quite quickly.

With Freddie being Australian, it was fun to see her call things different and Leo point it out. Some things I never would have even thought of. So it was a nice touch. Also made me feel like I really got to know Freddie.

I do wish we got more background on Leo and Hannah and how that turned out. His emails really stole the book so how it ended felt like I was missing something.

Overall once I got halfway through the book i was hooked and actively trying to solve the mystery. I enjoyed the adventure just wish the ending wasn’t wrapped up so quickly.

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An excellent mystery book within a book/story within a story. I've never heard or read Sulari Gentill before but I've quickly added her Rowland Sinclair Mysteries onto my 'to be read' list.

A group of strangers sitting around a table in a quiet Boston library when the silence is broken by a woman's scream. The scream leads to a discovery of a murder - and those strangers - the four of them - are each other's alibi.

At the time, this is all being passed back and forth through letters between two writers---during a pandemic.

It's a different sort of book and writing. I've never read anything like this before and I don't know if I will ever again.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review.

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The Woman in the Library was an enticing and engrossing book from the onslaught. Freddie and her three library friends were engaging and their instant bond interesting to read. The subplot of the story was chilling and was interesting to see the escalation within the narrative. The main mystery of the woman in the library was twisty and took unexpected but enjoyable turns.

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Eh, this is a tough one.
Did it thrill me? Not especially.
Was I sitting at the end of my seat (or like, lying in bed more tensely, maybe)? Nope.
Was it a really bad book? No, not really, just also not terribly exciting, either.

There are two stories in “The Woman in the Library”, really. One is about a woman who screams in the library and causes a group of four people to start a conversation about the scream, only to later find out that an actual dead woman has been found in the library, which would make our four characters start an amateur investigation into the murder. The other one happens between the chapters, as the first story is a manuscript an author named Hannah is writing, and a man named Leo is sending her letters with comments on the chapters, and tips about Boston, as the author is in Australia and can’t scout the city for herself.

In all honesty, I liked the second story much, much better. I won’t spoil it for you, but you should know, it’s just the better story and well worth reading. If there was a way to see more of that, I’d have loved the book much more.

Story #1, though, about the woman in the library, while somewhat interesting, was just so… implausible. Our main character there is called Freddie, and like Hannah, she’s an Australian writer, but one who’s come to America on a grant. She meets Marigold, Whit and Cain in the library (a bunch of really unusual names right there) and their casual conversation turns into a friendship, which, in turn, turns into a convoluted series of seemingly coincidental connections between most of them, and, to a murder investigation. As with most thrillers, I was eager to find out what the conclusion will be, so that definitely kept me reading, but honestly… it was pretty difficult to believe, in the end. I’ve read some crime novels in my time, while not being a huge crime-novel-buff, but I’ve rarely seen a book which left me so unconvinced. Not to mention that the story kept jumping from some super naive moments where the characters are talking about boys/girls and relationships, and eating donuts and pizza, to some strange turns that just can’t be for real and seem very much out of place and much too dark for the general feel of the book. I can’t go into more detail than that, but once you get to the house with the owner gone for the winter, maybe you’ll get it, like… what are the odds of all of that ever happening, really?

Overall feeling for this book: eh.

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Wow! This is a story that takes about a million twists and turns. Think Inception meets Agatha Christie. This is a story within a story that gets more convoluted with every chapter. An amazing book in every way. Now I need to keep my eyes open and find all her books. This book is a great find and an author I will absolutely follow in the future. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC. Opinions are honest and my own.

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Thank you @Netgalley and @Poisonedpress for a digital arc of this book.
Pub date:- 7th June, 2022

Hannah is a mystery writer living in Australia who gets her inspiration for her next mystery story set in the Boston library , based on e-mails exchanged with a fan, Leo who lives in Boston. Due to the pandemic travel restrictions, Hannah is unable to travel to Boston for her research and relies on Leo's legwork to get the settings and descriptions of locations correct!

The mystery:
Freddie is an Australian writer, currently spending a year in Boston because she won a literary fellowship. One day, when she was at the Boston library, thinking about what to write next, there is the sound of a scream and a woman is found dead. The three other random people sitting at her table quickly bond with each other over this shared experience and they become friends. Only, eventually Freddie starts realising that maybe this particular set of people sitting at the same table was not so random after all - and one of them might be a murderer!

What I loved:- So, this is a story within a story. I loved Freddie's story and the really complicated set of people she befriends at the library that day. The mystery had me really hooked and I was suspicious of all the characters at different points in the story. And by the way, I guessed wrong about the killer's identity!

What I did not like:- The other story that is told through Hannah and Leo's e-mail's is something that I liked very much in the beginning. Even towards the middle where Leo's tone changes from 'adoring fan' to something a little more troubling. The twist towards the end gave me a real shock initially and then I found it a little excessive, and I felt that two big reveals towards the end just distracted me! It might give a lot of readers 'double the thrill' but it wasn't for me!

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Thriller/Mystery

What a unique way to write a story!

Cain, Freddie, Whit, and Marigold meet and connect when they hear a blood curdling scream at the Boston Public Library. They bond over the experience especially once a body is discovered. Freddie is a writer from Australia in Boston on a merit scholarship, Cain is a well published author, Whit is in law school and Marigold is also a student. Freddie decides to use the event and the people she has just met in the novel she is writing.

Turns out this story and the characters are all part of a book being written by an Australian woman named Hannah. Hannah has been sending chapters of her book (the story about Whit, Cain, Marigold and Freddie) to a super fan named Leo. The chapters are interspersed between the book Hannah is writing and her correspondence with Leo. Leo is an American from Boston who offers up insights in his letters to Hannah about Boston, America, murders, the pandemic, word choices, plot lines, etc. You name it and Leo has an opinion on it.

Both storylines are very engrossing.

This book came so close to being absolutely superb, but it just missed somehow. I am not sure exactly where it missed. Maybe it's because Hannah isn't really known to us or the story within the story wasn't quite as suspenseful as I would have wished for. I am still very glad that I read it and want to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for my ARC of this novel.

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. It was not at all what I was expecting, and I’m excited to talk about it!

The Woman in the Library is a story within a story. In one part of the story, it follows Hannah, an Australian mystery writer who is in the process of writing her latest novel. Her book takes place in Boston and she is sending chapters of her book to Leo, a man from Boston, so that he can tell her whether the book accurately represents Americans and the Boston area. These sections of the book are told almost entirely through the feedback that Leo emails to Hannah. But the majority of The Woman in the Library actually covers the mystery novel that Hannah is writing. Hannah’s book follows a woman named Winifred who bonds with three strangers when they all hear a woman’s scream in the Boston Public Library. They later discover that the scream came from a woman who was later found murdered. Shortly after the discovery of her body, they each start to be threatened, attacked, and stalked by an unknown person. The group of friends decide to come together to solve the mystery of who murdered the woman in the library, and who could be out to get them.

I really liked the story that followed Winifred and the three people she met in the library. I thought every character was lovable and interesting, and I was rooting for all of them. I was invested in all of their relationships with each other, and in Winifred’s relationship with her friendly neighbor, Leo. The fact that I cared about the characters made this book an easy, enjoyable read. I never felt like I had to force myself to get through any part of this story. It was also just a good, solid, well thought out mystery. It had clues that were nicely lain out, a perfect amount of red herrings, and a good reveal at the end.

Unfortunately I really really disliked like the part of the book that follows Hannah and Leo. I thought it was unnecessary and didn’t have enough information or a satisfying conclusion. It was a shell of a story that didn’t really contribute to the overall book in my opinion. I’m not really able to say much about Hannah and Leo’s story without spoiling the book, but I’ll just say that Leo’s letters change as the book progresses, and we watch as Hannah and Leo’s dynamic shifts. Eventually I just wanted to skip through Leo’s letters so I could get back to Winifred’s story. I was only able to enjoy this book as much as I did because fortunately the Hannah/Leo plot line didn’t take up much of the book.

If you’re looking for a good mystery novel I definitely recommend this one! I know I only gave it 3 stars, but it’s pretty close to being a 4 star book for me. I just hated the way the Hannah/Leo story was handled so much that I had to remove a star. Like I said, it doesn’t take up much of the story, so I don’t think you should be deterred from reading this book just because of it. Again, I enjoyed this book, and I do recommend it!

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I am honestly having a terrible time getting into the book. I have put it down multiple times and read things in between. I think I may need to pick this up at another time. The switching between the letters and the story keep tripping me up.

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4.5 stars. A very fun and unique mystery. A book within a book within a book that is a reverse locked room mystery (see if you can figure that one out). This one was very well plotted with great character development. I really did not know how this one would end until the very end. The very last line leaves me thinking, and I would totally love to discuss this one with someone. If you are a mystery lover, then definitely pick this one up!

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3.5 stars. The Woman in the Library is a pretty unique take on a closed-door mystery, of sorts. It focuses on Hannah, a mystery writer, working from home in Australia because the pandemic prevented her from traveling to Boston for her research. Hannah’s work-in-progress is about Freddie (Winifred Kincaid), who works along with three other persons she meets one evening in the Boston Public Library to solve the mystery of who killed Caroline Palfrey in the library. One of these four is the murderer. Interspersed throughout this mystery is correspondence from Leo, a huge fan of Hannah’s, who lives in Boston and who becomes Hannah’s “eyes and ears” in Boston since her trip had to be postponed.

This is a very cleverly written novel, and it definitely has its share of twists which will keep you reading. However, the interjection of the Leo-Hannah correspondence (the “story within the story”) really did not work for me and seemed to take away from the mystery at hand. I nonetheless applaud the author's creativity in using this unique format. All in all, I did enjoy this read.

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This was such a fun murder mystery read! There were so many points where I thought I knew who the killer was but then something would happen that would make me think it was someone else. Also the “story within a story” aspect was a cool addition to it. I recommend this if you’re looking for something pretty fast paced and attention grabbing

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First let me shout out a big thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Second I don't understand the mixed reviews. I loved the book. I have never read anything by this author, but when I read it was about a murder in a library, I had to read it and was so excited to get a free copy!

I found it so exciting. I loved how the murder plot flowed so seemlessly. The story within the story was a big plus. The characters, setting, and plot were superb. Recommend. Five stars!

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