I was eager to read this one since the premise was so interesting: murder, library, writers... It really seemed like my type of book!
Unfortunately, I wasn't engaged in the story at all and I finished it only because I had receiced an ARC.😕 I wasn't really curious about the identity of the murderer nor in the different relationships between the characters.
One thing I did enjoy was the concept of a story within a story with the letters from a fan to the author. On the other hand, I feel like this idea could have been more elaborate.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC.
Publication date: 07 Jun 2022
The idea of a story inside a story, Strangers meeting in a library and a murder in the library. These are all intriguing aspects of the book. However, the story moves slowly and at times is confusing. The plot falls flat and there are inconsistencies. I liked the setting of the strangers becoming friends so continued reading but it was not unputdownable.
I was excited to read The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill because the premise was intriguing: a woman is murdered in the Boston Public Library as four strangers sit at the same table not knowing that one of them is the murderer. The blurb led me to believe this would be a locked room mystery, but that was not the case.
I give this book kudos for its clever use of the "story within a story" tool. My favorite parts were reading the letters from the fan to the author and then seeing his character in the main plot. I was afraid this aspect might be confusing, but the author explained things clearly.
The mystery itself wasn't that exciting, and the pace was too slow to call it a thriller. The characters fell flat for me, as I didn't care about any of them all that much.
While this book didn't live up to its potential for me, I liked it well enough that I will recommend it to readers who appreciate the story within a story trope.
Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for the e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
A book within a book! I really enjoyed reading The Woman in the Library. The way this book is written is so fun and unique and I found myself drawn to both storylines. I was hooked from the first couple chapters as the characters have dimension and the prose is smart and concise. Definitely recommend!
As a librarian who works in the next city over from Boston and had been to the BPL many times, I really enjoyed this intricate, "Whodunit" book based at the BPL! Fun, quirky and very entertaining, The Woman in the Library delivers a thrilling mystery packed novel that is sure t keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat!
This was a fun mystery inside a mystery! The pages turned easily and quickly. There were a couple ideas that seemed a little off topic in the book, but they did not distract too much. Readers will have to pay close attention so as not to confuse the two mysteries. It kept me guessing!
Thank you very much to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I really enjoyed this story. I really liked the storyline and the characters. I was excited to turn the pages. What’s not to love about a book about books!
Although this is not the first book to use a twisty plot or unreliable characters, it is the first I've encountered that has a twisty character attempting to influence an unreliable plot.
Gentill uses the frame of the book's narrator/writer corresponding with a possible character who advocates more violence, explicit references to the characters' races, and acknowledgement of the pandemic. That frame allows her to do all the things her character advocates while pretending not to do so. It also allows her to play with fact/fiction, illusion/reality, and do so under the reasonable guise of ending each chapter with a letter from her off-stage writing adviser.
I found the book entertaining and captivating with good characterizations and enough to plot “reveals” to keep me reading well after time to turn off the light.
I hadn’t expected to enjoy it nearly as much as I did — highly recommend.
Thank you to Netgalley and Sulari Gentill for this ARC of The Woman in the Library. On to the review.
This book had me hooked from the beginning! I was expecting a great, but run of the mill, who done it mystery/thriller novel but was pleasantly surprised! I won’t lie, the story within a story aspect of the book threw me for a loop for a little bit, but once I got that sorted I was not disappointed!
The story within a story certainly added extra layers to the plot in a way that wasn’t distracting, and once you got to the “twist”? Instantly added more dread and anxiety than there was present before.
I would absolutely recommend this book to friends who I know like mystery and thriller novels!
I am absolutely in love with the style of writing for this novel!!! The story itself had me guessing and second guessing who the murderer was and what was going on. Will definitely be highly recommending this book to everyone I know!
I'm so grateful for getting the chance to read this ARC through NetGalley!
I would like to precede by saying that while I rate this book a 3 out of 5, I’m sure many people would give it 4 out of 5.
While I didn’t love the book, I would still say it was worth me reading it, especially once it got to about halfway - I did actually find it exciting and got hooked in.
The mix of characters was definitely a strength of the book, being current and relatable. The biggest plus though was the plot, it genuinely isn’t easy to figure out and keeps you guessing with subtle twists and turns. I was unsure whether I enjoyed the additional element of author correspondences, maybe at first it was a little too meta and confusing, however the concept felt unique and gave an interesting insight into being a writer.
For the weaknesses, the first part of the book (~15%) was spent setting the scene which possibly took a bit too long and lost me a little bit. The character interactions at points felt a little tired and shallow and I personally didn’t feel drawn in by any of the characters. Overall, I would just say the book missed a certain sparked to really excite me and make it an “unputdownable” read.
What a ride! I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure in all its intensity and sometimes cheesiness! There was commentary about the pandemic and race intermixed which made it a very relevant book but those parts weren’t even a part of the actual story. I felt like this was a super unique read and really enjoyed the author.
Don’t trust white men:)
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Poisoned Pen Press, and of course the author Sulari Gentill for this advanced digital copy!
A mystery that starts in a library. Sold! I was hooked from the very start. It pulled me in and never let go. I absolutely loved this unique, twisty, highly entertaining, and layered story. If you like unique formats, mysteries, and books about books, check this out!
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
I thought this was a really clever approach to a murder mystery! The frame of using emails between a fictional author and the author's writing is a new one to me. The email subplot is just as intriguing as the main plot of the novel, despite how few pages it takes up. I found it funny when the emails would point out inconsistencies or errors and the author would correct them - it reveals a lot about the revision and feedback cycle that readers are usually not privy to, and I was thrilled to be in the know. As a teacher, I think this look into the meta parts of writing will be interesting for some of my students to read, and I'll be sure to recommend this book to them!
Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC.
This book was so confusing. I'm still not 100 percent sure what happened. It's a story within a story and I honestly don't know which part was what. However, I still gave it 4 stars because it had me guessing up until the last page, and even beyond. I was hoping the end would clarify things, but it didn't, at least not for me. It was intriguing and suspenseful though, which is, I think, what made me still give it a high rating. Plus, the characters were very likeable, which helps.
A fiction story in a fiction story with an additional side story with correspondence between chapters was a bit much. I loved the idea of a murder in a library and one of four people meeting for the first time being guilty of the murder; however the this fell short of my expectations. The characters were flat as they were being created by a fictional author and the correspondence with Leo interrupted the flow of the book for me.
Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to read this early copy for an honest review.
I found the 40% of this super addictive but for some reason the story fell flat for me and I don't think I'll remember this one in a few weeks. I liked the writing and I do think this was a soild read but I just wish there was a bit more added.
Thankyou to Netgalley for allowing me to read this one early.
The woman in the library by Sulari Gentill.
Hannah Tigone, bestselling Australian crime author, is crafting a new novel that begins in the Boston Public Library: four strangers; Winifred, Cain, Marigold and Whit are sitting at the same table when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. A woman has been murdered. They are all suspects, and, as it turns out, each character has their own secrets and motivations – and one of them is a murderer.While crafting this new thriller, Hannah shares each chapter with her biggest fan and aspirational novelist, Leo. But Leo seems to know a lot about violence, motive, and how exactly to kill someone. Perhaps he is not all that he seems…
I really enjoyed this book. Great story. I had my theory and I was partly right. I did like Freddie and Marigold and Cain
Wasn't sure about Witt or Leo. 4*.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an ARC of this book.
What a wonderful surprise this book is! I tend to read books that have library in the title because I'm quite partial to libraries. I had never heard of this author before but intend to follow her from now on. I gather this is Ms Gentill second stand-alone book and that she has a series also.
This story starts out with four young people, unknown to each other, sitting near one another in the Boston Public Library. A terrifying scream is heard and they start chatting and end up at a coffee shop guessing at what possibly could have happened. A second story runs alongside which tells us that an Australian woman is writing the first story but since she is in Australia she is using an acquaintance to give her specific facts about Boston, Cambridge, etc. Each chapter of the mystery is preceded by an e-mail from the acquaintance, both solicited and unsolicited, in response to the preceding chapter. It is an ingenious approach and in no way throws of either story.
The four friends, two men and two women, have attractions, get close and more information evolves about each one of them as people die, and strange events happen. You could say there are red herrings but not really. There are explanations and the reader bounces around like a ball in a game box trying to make sense of each new piece of information and whether it is pertinent to the mystery of the 'scream in the library.'
I read this book in two days but it would be a disservice to label it a beach-read. I think Ms. Gentill is an evolving writer with a lot of tricks up her sleeve. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on her detective series. and more of these wonderful stand alones.
e-arc provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
"so now i'm alone with a murderer. but then it's not the first time."
there's always a risk with stories-within-stories that one -or both- of them will be made worse for it, so i'm very glad to report that that is not the case here. while it seemed totally random at first, i loved seeing how the email correspondence between the author and a diehard fan impacted the story she was writing -the one advertised on the blurb, so double inception- and enhanced my engagement in reading this. in all regards, the subplot (parallel plot?) surprised me, and ended up my favourite part of 'the woman in the library'. i just love very subtle signs that something is terribly wrong.
as for the main plotline about four strangers meeting in a library, unaware that one of them is a murderer, i've got to say i didn't connect with it as much. maybe since this was my first foray into mystery novels and it's just not the genre for me, or i read it at a weird time which impacted my enjoyment. definitely not much of a criticism of the story, i guess i just like the moment where everything slots into place more than the guesses and red twine phase.
in any case, i found myself looking forward to leo's emails at the end of every chapter more than the start of the next one. there was just a bit too much 'x wouldn't do this because i know he wouldn't' or 'oh didn't you hear? y is connected to z because of q' for me to get really invested. the main character felt sort of like a passenger on a bus, watching the plot unravel through the window instead of interacting with it.
wow i sound just like leo huh