Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

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Member Reviews

This book kicked off in a really compelling way, but sadly, that's all it really had going for it. The plots crawled along at barely a smolder that never managed to build themselves into a burn, slow or otherwise. You may have noticed that I said "plots". It's not a typo; this story has a dual plot situation going on that, while interesting in theory, was just not executed very well, in my opinion.

There was a line in this story, around the point when I was starting to wonder if <i>anything</i> was going to happen in this book, that got me thinking I might have been duped by picking it up.

"We dress our stories up with murders, and discussions about morality and society, but really we just care about relationships."

It kind of speaks for itself. Basically, this book promises you a murder and mystery, but doesn't really deliver on either of those things in a satisfying way because it's more focused on the developing romance between characters.

As someone who doesn't enjoy reading romance, I didn't like being tricked into reading a romance disguised as a murder mystery. I would have been able to tolerate it if it wasn't at the expense of the rest of the plot, but it definitely was. The mystery didn't really feel fleshed out, and the solution was easy to guess, even early on in the book.
To make matters worse, for a book about relationships, the characters were okay at best. They all felt very cookie-cutter to me, and I found it hard to connect with any of them.

If you're looking for a romance novel with some peripheral mystery/murder, this might be for you. However, if you're looking for a who-dun-it that'll leave you guessing until the end, I don't think you'll find this book very satisfying.
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I would like to thank Net Galley and Poisoned Pen press for the chance to read this book as an ARC. The framework for the plot is a bit twisty, but worth taking the time to read and sort out. Hannah is a writer in Australia. She is writing a book about 4 people( 2 men and 2 women), strangers, who are in the Reading Room of the Boston Public Library when there is a scream. The 4 people begin to talk and bond . One of the women, Winifred( Freddie), is a writer from Australia.  The foursome find out that a woman was killed in the library.One of the men knows the woman. The other man is also a writer and the 4th is a  girl named Marigold, who is a student in Psychology. The 4 become friends quickly , and become interested in each other and in the murder. Hannah, the Australian author, is also receiving emails, which start each chapter, from a man named Leo  who is in the US. Leo is also a writer( although unpublished at this point) and is a fan. He initially is giving Hannah tips on American Slang, Boston Landmarks, etc. Hannah is sending him chapters ( it is unclear why or how this friendship started)and he is providing critiques and suggestions. So it is a book, about a woman named Hannah  who is a writing a book. Hannah is getting regular emails from a man in Boston named Leo. Hannah's book is about an author named Freddie, who gets involved in a murder mystery, is writing a book about it and has a friend named Leo. Like i said, twisty. It is very interesting and the characters are fascinating. No spoilers, but no one is really what they seem.It seemed to wrap up a bit too quickly, there were a lot of threads that were all of a sudden resolved. I am also not sure about the Leo character, either the email version or the one who befriends Freddie , or the one in Freddie's story. There was a lot to think about and process. I think this is a book I will be rethinking for sometime to come. And that's a good thing.
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I wrote a long review but then NetGalley glitched so I'll be more brief this time. Overall I'd give it a 3.5, with extra points for the unique structure. The dialogue and overly descriptive sections really took me out of the story and made it hard to get invested in any of the characters. It's a really creative premise and I enjoyed that, but could be greatly improved with less descriptions and more realistic dialogue.
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This book was very enjoyable.  I loved how it was done through a chapter of a book and the email with the reader's thoughts on that chapter.  Loved the interesting twists.
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Handsome Man; Freud Girl; and Heroic Chin: these are the names that Writer—In—A--Slump gives to the people sitting at her reading table at the Boston Public Library (BPL). Writer--In—A--Slump is spending most of her time sneaking peaks at Handsome man, and admiring the catenary arch which forms the ceiling. Soon, there is a scream, and the foursome begin to form a friendship.

Handsome man is Cain McCleod, a published writer. Freud Girl is Marigold Anastas, a Harvard student studying psychology. Heroic Chin is Whitt Metters, an easy-going law student doing everything he can think of to flunk. Writer—In—A—Stump is Winifred (Freddie) Kincaid, a writer who has secured a scholarship so she can work on her book. From this group she is inspired to write a story that parallels the events the four experience. 

What we have is a piece of metafiction: “a novel that imitates a novel rather than the real world” (John Barth). The novel The Woman in the Library is a work of fiction about a writer writing a work of fiction. Freddie’s opus comprises the events and people involved in the mystery concerning the Woman—Who--Screamed. We experience the events concurrent with her as she tells us about writing the book. Got it? I love it!

This is a frame story: before every chapter there is a companion story with a different narrator. These are in the form of emails sent to Freddie by a man named Leo. These missives concern advice he is giving concerning the chapters she sends him to critique. He also suggests that they should meet. Who is Leo? What is his story? How do they know each other? 

I absolutely enjoy books about books. Sulari Gentill is a fantastic writer. She has imbued the characters with personalities and humor which makes for great dialogue. The mystery of the Woman—Who—Screamed works well as the reason for why they meet, and why they continue to interact. Along the way, we have romance, deception, speculation, suspense, and, care of Freud Girl/Marigold, psychological analysis.

I can enthusiastically recommend this book.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Poison Pen Press for the opportunity to read and review this novel.
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The Woman in the Library alternates between a literary murder mystery and letters to the author that provide feedback on the mystery itself. In fact, they become part of the mystery.

The story begins when 4 people start a friendship at the Boston Public Library after they hear the scream of a woman who is later found murdered.

The tension that builds over the course of the book propelled me along quite quickly and the whole thing kept me guessing until the satisfying end.

If you love a good mystery and have a fondness for writers you will love this novel.
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 This book was such a surprise. I was hooked from the first chapter until the last page. This is my first read from this author, but will not be my last.
 Describing this book is somewhat of a challenge, but here it goes. Hannah is a famous author who is writing a mystery novel about an author writing a novel. We also get emails from Leo, an avid fan of Hannah's, in response to chapters she is sending him. They get weirder and weirder as we go. The book within the book was so engaging. In Hannah's novel we follow Winifred, or Freddie. She is an Australian author living in the US on fellowship. She goes to the Boston Public Library where she meets Whit, Cain, and Marigold. They all here a woman scream, and strike up a friendship from there. They layer find out a woman was murdered in the library, and the mystery goes from there. 
 This story was so engaging, and the writing is so beautiful. I cannot wait for a physical copy when it releases in June.
 Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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"The Woman in the Library" by Sulari Gentill was much more than a simple mystery. It was actually a book, containing a book that contained a mystery. This perspective added an interesting other layer to a great mystery. The mystery was also heightened by the slow release of people's back stories and the unexpected twist and turns along the way. 

Anyone who enjoys a great mystery, will definitely enjoy all the uniqueness contained in "The Woman in the Library.
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Interesting book. The stories are well written and keep your attention. At first didn’t care for the emails from Leo, but they did help to keep you aware of the “story'" and the "real world". Then they definitely got creepy. Who done it kept changing, and the reasons for the original murder over the top. I will recommend this book to others as it is a mystery within a mystery.
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Sulari Gentil's The Woman in the Library takes the locked room murder trope and inverts it. Four people are brought together by a scream and are torn apart by a shooting. In between, we have subtle hints at race relations, the COVID-19 pandemic, a researcher abroad who becomes increasingly unhinged, new love, fancy donuts and twists and turns at every corner. 

Well done! I'm going to pick up Gentill's Rowland Sinclair mystery series.

3.9/5 stars
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A murder mystery that starts off in a crowded library full of book lovers? SIGN ME UP! 

Harriet is an Australian implant writer who hopes to find inspiration for a novel while staring at the ceiling at the Boston Public Library. Cain, Whit, and Marigold happen to be sitting at the same table when they hear the horrendous noise of a woman’s screams. Shocked, they end up striking up a quick and effortless friendship…only to find out soon after that the screaming woman was murdered. Who murdered her? Could it possibly be someone at the table?

This is a fun whodunnit that is told from Harriet’s POV. Alternating chapters tell a story within a story through Leo, a fan of an author named Hannah, who is writing the story we’re reading. She sends him chapters of her book and he responds to each one, helping with advice. Will his insight be impactful?

This mystery is fun, with a great group of characters to get to know. I suspected quite a few folks at one time or another…and yet, I wasn’t completely blown away when all was revealed. That didn’t deter my engagement. 

While I don’t want to say too much more (although other reviews do…beware), I’ll add that this novel serves food for thought on racial equality and pandemics in writing. It does NOT get too heavy though. 

Overall, I would recommend this to readers looking for an entertaining and sometimes humorous mystery that balances the right amount of depth without ever taking itself too seriously. 

3.5 stars rounded up. 

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication Date: 6/7/22. 

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Meh. This was just not the book for me. I should have read the premise of this book before starting it. After reading the first chapter I kept trying to figure out who Hannah and Leo were... Was Hannah the narrator? Well, no because that person's name was Freddie (I think), who sounded like an 80 year old man, but was actually a young woman. Eventually I went back to the description of this book and realized Hannah is writing a book about these people that met in the library after hearing a woman scream and then ending up dead, but it was too late for me to enjoy. I didn't like the writing style and constantly felt like I was missing something. I ended up at about 25% and DNF.
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I am a Librarian so I had to see what this book was about. At the Boston Public Library a woman's body is found. Four complete strangers sitting in the Library's Reading Room begin talking after hearing a scream and it turns out that one of them is most likely a murderer. Definitely an entertaining whodunit mystery with some romance , as well. Wonderfully written and highly recommend!
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This is an engaging, twisty story-within-a-story.  The two main plot threads are 1) author Hannah exchanges letters and book feedback with a man called Leo, and 2) the actual book Hannah is writing, where a group comes together to try and solve the mystery of a woman's death in a library.  

"Hannah"'s book is engaging, but I don't know that it would have held my attention as much on its own.  I was most invested to see how the relationship between Hannah and Leo played out.  We read Leo's feedback after each chapter, and although Hannah's responses are never shown, we can see her opinions and personality through how she incorporates (or doesn't) Leo's advice into the following chapters.  It's a unique format, and I was eager to see how it all played out, but...

The answer was "off-page".  That's how the most interesting conflict in the book was resolved, with only minimal hints.  The book left me wondering "wtf just happened?", and not in the good way, in a literal I-do-not-understand-how-this-all-played-out way.  Yeah, you get the gist of it, but all the best details are missing!  This book could have used less details about restaurants and various meals, and more word count on what should have been the true climax of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the reading experience, but it could have been better.
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The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill uses a unique literary device, a book within a book. Initially, this really piqued my interest. That sensibility did not last it seems throughout the book, it's there, but the mystery at hand really took over, perhaps as it should have. Overall, an interesting book with characters who were well described and believable. The plot within a plot device was done well, but I got the sense the author was kind of done with really developing that halfway through. Overall, a good read.
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I really enjoyed the novel within a novel aspect. I love reading about authors and things involving the publishing world. I liked the author’s writing style and the plot was so unique. However, it took forever for me to get through and there were times that I had to push myself to read it. I’ve never been into slow-burn mysteries and that is why I gave it a 3 star rating.

Harriet, Marigold, Caine, and Whit are all sitting in the reading room at the Boston Public Library when they hear a woman scream. The security guards secure the area and tell them to sit tight until they figure out what is going on.

This group of individuals once strangers quickly begin talking and exchanging theories about who it was that screamed and what happened. What they don’t consider is that one of them is the murderer.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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The unusual format was a little jarring at first, it took me a couple of chapters to get into the rhythm of it. But then I couldn't put it down! It was like reading three stories rolled into one--each one building on the other. There were plenty of "I did NOT see that coming" moments, and others where I thought I had it figured out but then another potential suspect was introduced. I'm definitely keeping Sulari Gentill on my "to read" list! I've also included "The Woman in the Library" on our next book order for the high school library.
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It begins with the subplot containing emails from Leo Johnson a fan of Hannah Tigone, an Australian celebrated author. They exchange emails, and Leo is looking forward to helping and giving feedback on her current project. 

Hannah was in the middle of writing a novel set at the Boston Public Library. Four strangers sitting in the Reading Room until suddenly, there's a scream. The body of Caroline Palfrey wasn't found right away. It's a bit like a locked room mystery in reverse. There's layer after layer, suspicion rest upon every character. Freddie, the narrator, thinks she may have been sharing a table with a killer. 

I might say that I love Gentill right away. She's so brilliant. She is incredible at building characters and creating depth within them that left me guessing, but adding Leo and his observations could be also added back and forth as I was reading. Leo, himself is so mysterious and has some issues. 

My personal rating 4.5 ⭐

Thank you to @netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for this exciting ARC. All opinions are my own. This book will be published on June 7, 2022.

#donereading #thewomaninthelibrary #sularigentill #emabaca #malaysiamembaca #igreads #ebookstagram #goodreads
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I have never read a book quite like this one. 

It's hard to talk about without spoiling the premise but I'll do my best. 

We start with four strangers seated around a table in the Boston Public Library. The silence is broken by a scream. . A woman's scream. But when the library is searched, no-one can be found. The group of four turn out to be Australian writing grant winner and our narrator, Freddie. Psychology student Marigold.  The student who doesn't really care about graduating, Whit; and fellow writer and heartthrob Cain. 

The scream brings them together and with the final sentence of the chapter we discover that one of them is a murderer. 

Then comes the fun part. We get an email reply to this first chapter from someone called Leo. 

So what we have here is a book being written by Hannah, about an author (Freddie), writing a book based on the scream in the library. Inception, right. 

Hannah is an author from Australia, who is sending each chapter of her latest book to a friend for feedback.  At the end of each chapter we get an email from the authors fan/critique partner. Leo gives his opinion on the most recent chapter, helping with details about the Boston area. 

So as our mystery continues within the story of the book, we are also given a glimpse into the mysterious Leo. He and Hannah have never met in person and it becomes evident that while he is a fan of her work, he carries a lot of envy over her success. He speaks about his own unpublished book as "The Opus" 

I loved this book. Like, could not put it down and would have finished it in one sitting if I didn't have to adult. The whodunnit of the book within  a book was masterfully done. With just the right amount of suspicious characters and many secrets revealed throughout to keep the reader second guessing everything. 

But where this book absolutely shines is with those emails at the end of each chapter. Allowing the reader to watch Leo devolve and twist throughout the narrative was sufficiently creepy to the point where I was worried for this fictional author Hannah. 

The emails push to the forefront that the story of Freddie, Whit, Marigold and Cain is a work of fiction. Which in turn makes your concern for the also made up Hannah more visceral. 

10/10 the level of skill to pull something like this off is remarkable and I am absolutely blown away. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley, the publisher and especially the author for allowing me to read this one early. Can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy when it comes out in June.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I had high hopes for this book, but it turned out to be rather disappointing.  The book-within-a book sounded intriguing but the concept just dragged on.  I’m sure other readers will enjoy this, but it didn’t play out for me.
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