Cover Image: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of The Woman in the Library. I would first like to say that I really enjoyed the book being set in Boston. There were recognizable places such as the Back Bay, Harvard, and the subway. I enjoyed going through the story and hearing about these places. The story starts at the Boston Public Library in the reading room. There are four strangers there who hear a scream and become friends. Throughout the book, you learn about the friendships of these four people and that one of them may have murdered the lady who was screaming. I enjoyed this book and wanted to know who killed the lady. If you like mysteries, this is not one to miss. You can get your copy on 6/7/2022.
Was this review helpful?
I'm conflicted on this one, because I had pretty high expectations after I read the beginning, and was a little bit disappointed with the way everything turned out. I really like the premise, and the framing narrative of the author getting (unsolicited) advice from a 'friend'. I was gripped throughout, and read the book fairly quickly because I wanted to know what happened. I did think that Freddie was slightly annoying and I didn't totally buy her whirlwind romance, but enjoyed most of the characters. I just thought the way everything resolved was a bit disappointing, and I was expecting more from the plot involving Hannah and Leo, but I felt it was a bit of an anti-climax. I did enjoy my reading experience, though, and would consider picking up more of Sulari Gentill's work.
Was this review helpful?
I loved the mystery throughout this book as the author introduces various characters that are linked together through a murder in the Boston Public Library.   The book keeps you guessing almost up to the end as to who the real murderer is and how they did it.  I was a bit disappointed in the ending as it felt very abrupt, letting the reader know who committed the murder but leaving the main character dangling as to how this would affect her life in the future.  Maybe setting us up for a sequel?
Was this review helpful?
The woman in the library
Thank you NetGalley, Poisoned Pen Press and Sulari Gentill for giving me this arc in exchange for a honest review.
 This multilayered book consists of : 
- An author's manuscript which is been sent to a fan/friend Leo (as emails) for Australian/American word suggestions and landmarks ,but as the story progresses he grows more demanding and ominous.
- When Freddie an aspiring author hears a scream in the library it unites her with 3 other people. The scream first ruled as a false alarm which later turns out to be a murder.
As the friendship develops and they start to being interrogated one by one and suspicion rises amongst them that there may be a killer amongst their midst
  This was one of my anticipated arcs and it did not disappoint me. The story gripped me right from the start and suspecting who the killer was at first a little hard because each had a motive but as the story progresses it was quite easy to guess who the killer was so yeah I loved the book.
Was this review helpful?
*Thank you Net Galley for the e-ARC*

Thank you Sulari Gentill for writing an exhilarating mystery novel that helped me break out of my reading slump! To be honest, I don’t remember requesting a copy, but I’m so glad I did and got the chance to read such an amazing book. I used to study at the BPL often when I used to go to university in Boston, so I could envision the setting and it helped me immerse myself into the story. I did get an inkling of who the murderer was from the beginning, but it did not play out as how I imagined. When I usually read a mystery/thriller novel, the pacing is super slow, but the pacing of this book was perfect. I ended up sitting on my couch for hours just reading. Can’t wait for everyone else to read The Woman In The Library when it’s published in June!
Was this review helpful?
I would give this book 4.25 stars if allowed, maybe even 4.5; but I can't quite round it all the way up to 5 stars.

Any complaints are pretty minor; some of the characters and their actions felt a bit unrealistic from time to time, and there were a few loose threads that I'd have preferred were wrapped up. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed "The Woman in the Library". It's probably one of the better mysteries I've read in quite awhile. It felt very original, and kept me guessing until the end.
Was this review helpful?
Very disappointing. The characters were badly drawn, and the plot was very obvious (who knew that corresponding with total stranger online could end with him turning out to be a psychopath?) Also, this trope of a book within a book came across as the author merely trying to spin out the already fairly flimsy plotline. 
It might suit some people, but for me the only plus was that it was so badly written that it was a fast read.
Was this review helpful?
I found this book incredibly refreshing. The plot starts out intriguing- who is the woman who screamed in the library?- and keeps the reader hooked with new developments, twists, and turns. I enjoyed the mystery within the mystery within the mystery. Not only is the main character writing her own mystery while being involved in one in real life, but the author of the book finds herself in a strange situation with a reader that she is corresponding with and to whom she is sending her story one chapter at a time. The character development is reasonable if a bit rushed. Some areas of the story are not as fleshed out as they could be, but they never are in mystery stories. I actually really enjoyed references to the current era (2020 specifically), but they are not necessary for the plot. 

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Woman in the Library. It is a fresh and invigorating addition to the genre.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to netgalley for the arc!
This was such a creative story as the "novel" being written intertwined with a second story. The four main characters were well drawn as were the secondary players. A definite read for those who like whodunits.
Was this review helpful?
I can not recommend this book enough! Was absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year. I plan to purchase this book for friends and family. Thank you to publisher and author for this wonderful read.
Was this review helpful?
Hannah, a successful novelist, is writing a book about four strangers who bond and become friends over the shared experience of hearing a scream in the Boston Public Library and later decide to investigate when a girl is found dead in the same place. We read the book as she writes it and the chapters are interspersed with email feedback from Leo, a desperate not-yet-author. 

(4.5 stars)

Essentially, there are two main plot lines -- the one wherein we follow Freddie and the one where we get glimpses of what is happening within Hannah's life through the emails that she receives. Although at first I felt as though the fact that Freddie's story is fiction-fiction detracted from my engagement, I quickly became invested in both plots. I quite enjoyed the fact this was, essentially, a writer writing about a writer writing about a writer writing a story based on her life (try to say that quickly five times), it was a level of inception I've never seen before. 


The writing style was also quite novel to me -- less descriptions and a lot of dialogue and deliberation. However, Leo felt very distinct from the book itself. I was completely consumed by this book -- I stayed up late just to find out what was actually happening and whether my suspicions were correct, which was a really fun experience. My one qualm is that at times, the book feels like a vessel for commentary on the world of writing, as well as social commentary. It felt a little overwhelming at certain moments but it was also interesting. 

The characters are usually the most important part of the book for me, what gets me invested. I cannot say I was really invested in any of the characters, however, because of the framing of the book and the plot, I was still deeply invested in the plot. 

Overall, a deeply addictive story that I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery-thrillers.
Was this review helpful?
Four strangers in a library become witness to a murder when they hear the victim's dying scream. They quickly become friends over this unusual experience, but as romantic tensions develop in the group, so does suspicion: is one of them a murderer? Who can they trust? When the police start zeroing in on them, our main character Freddie must race to find the real murderer before an innocent person is put behind bars forever. 

I really enjoyed this fast-paced and entertaining thriller and read it in one sitting. Freddy's story is engaging and I flew along, wanting to know what happens next. 

What did not work as well for me was the second layer: from the beginning it is clear that the story we're reading is a book being written by a famous author, who is in correspondence with a beta-reader, who in turn provides his thoughts on the manuscript through e-mail as it is written. Some reviewers have called this confusing, but I didn't find it confusing at all. I thought it was very clear and well-structured from the beginning. 
However, I don't quite see what this part of the book was supposed to achieve. Freddy's story would have stood as a solid thriller without the meta-fiction of her story being written by another author, and Leo's part could have been removed entirely without damaging or even changing the story at all. 
That said, I thought it was very well executed, with a logical follow-through (being vague here to avoid spoilers). 

I did guess the main two twists of the book quite easily. One was perhaps a lucky freak-guess, but in the end, our circle of suspects is quite small and it wasn't too hard to figure it out by process of elimination. 

If you're looking for a fun thriller with multiple layers of meta-fiction, I would very much recommend picking this one up, and I will certainly try some of Sulari Gentill's other works in the future. 

I received a free copy of this book from Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
First and foremost, I would like to thank Sulari Gentill and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to read this novel.

I literally could not put The Woman in the Library down. Its been a while since I've been so engrossed in a story. 

Four people meet in the Reading Room of the Boston Public Library, no one knows that among them is a murderer.  Each twist and turn of this story is phenomenal! I loved the emails at the end of each chapter. 

Please do yourself a favor and read this book!!!
Was this review helpful?
The following is a slightly paraphrased conversation over dinner last night:

Me: Hey, hon, I’m reading a book where it’s basically a book in a book.
Partner: Okay. How’s that going?
Me: It’s actually going really well.
Partner: It’s an effective tool when written well.
Me: It is written well. The reader gets the plot of the book but then, through letters, also sees how her correspondence friend is reacting to the book. 
Partner: How’s the friend reacting?
Me: Well, making suggestions - editorial, natch, but also is doing some research in the area, since he lives there - so, names of restaurants, areas in which to live, and the like.
Partner: That probably makes it feel more real to those who live or know the area.
Me: Yes, exactly. But some of the suggestions start taking a really dark turn - such as why don’t you include this, you have to include that, and it just becomes, well, rather creepy. Not creepy, maybe disturbing. Yes, disturbing. 
Partner: Are the suggestions helpful to the overall plot of the faux book or?
Me: Not really. I mean, okay, the friend’s suggestions start off as minor, but then he becomes really emphatic, such as “you must include this because it’s how people think about things here in the States, being Australian you wouldn’t understand.” But it’s odd stuff.
Partner: So, how’s the overall faux book?
Me: It’s a good mystery - it’s a who-done-it, but the letters from the friend really add to the enjoyment of the book - or that’s how I found it at least.
Partner: So, you have to rate this book, right? What are you going to rate it?
Me: I don’t know. I really reserve five stars - the highest - to books that I absolutely love and want to read again. I don’t know if I feel I need to read this book again, but I really did enjoy it. So, um, I don’t know … 
Partner: Were there any flaws? 
Me: Not really. There was one part I saw coming, but like the main character I kinda saw it but I didn’t quite understand how the pieces fit together, but then it was explained in a pretty logical manner.
Partner: Did you enjoy it?
Me: Yes.
Partner: Did you like the writing style?
Me: Yes, the inclusion of both the story, chapter by chapter, and the friend’s letter at the end of the chapter was a great idea and I liked the overall style.
Partner: So, what’s the problem?
Me: I don’t know. Maybe it is a five star book. Yeah, it’s five star book.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, Netgalley, for sending me an copy in exchange for an honest review. The cover of this book got my attention right away. I'm so sorry but this did not work for me! A story within a story and all the characters was just very overwhelming to me and I couldn't stick with it. DNF at 25%
Was this review helpful?
Um. Wow. Ok. Where to start. 
This book gripped me from the very beginning and once I started reading I could stop. I read it in just a few hours. 
I really enjoyed the whodunit aspect and the way more information was revealed as the chapters continued. 
I must admit that I do generally guess where mysteries are headed before they get there and while I had an inkling of where this one would end up there was just enough doubt in my mind that I continued to jump back and forth on whodunit until the end. 
The addition of the emails back and forth ER between the author and Leo were an interesting concept and at first I was quite intrigued by that mystery as well. But somewhere towards the middle Leo (from the emails) came to annoy me and I felt that the ending of the emails wasn’t quite fully planned out or thought out. It felt really incomplete. However I did like that his ideas in the emails translated in some ways into aspects of the story. 
It felt almost like two books in one. 
Definitely recommend this book as a quick mystery read.
Was this review helpful?
The most enjoyable aspect of "The Woman in the Library" to had to have been the inclusion of the subplot of emails that were being sent to the author in the story. While the story itself played out like a regular whodunnit, there was something inherently terrifying and creepy about the manner in which Leo Johnson was reacting to the author and her work. It managed to toe the line of horror and unease, without being overtly graphic, and without ever growing boring or mind-numbing. "The Woman in the Library" is a book that people will have trouble putting down, and will want to absolutely discuss with their friends.

The great strength of this book is the balance between stories. I was never once confused, nor did I believe that anything was unclear enough to distort the line between the created reality and the actual reality of the situation. Everything felt intentional, and for that I absolutely respect what Gentill was able to accomplish. For anyone who wants a mystery thriller, I will be suggesting this book!
Was this review helpful?
WHODUNNIT?!!?

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman's terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who'd happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

A tad bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie but this story holds very well on it's own. Highly recommend. Not going to give away too much but you're in for a delightful tale that will keep you flipping the pages so put down that other book and grab this one! See if you can guess who did it before the book is over.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is a 'book within a book' story. The main character is writing a book about an author working on a book in the Boston Public Library. Her character ends up making friends with three people at her table when the four of them hear a woman scream. The main character is someone we get to know between the chapters of her book through an exchange of letters with a man who becomes her stalker. This book starts SO slow and unfortunately, does not get better. I found it boring and, quite frankly, a tedious chore to read. The premise is good, but the follow through just isn't there.
Was this review helpful?
The Woman in the Library is a fun read--the format of a book within a book, the characters, and the mystery all give an enjoyable story to immerse yourself in.
#Sulari Gentill is a writer I will be keeping my eye on.
Thank you to #netgalley #poisonedpen for intruducing me to such a fun author.
Was this review helpful?