Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray is the third book in the “Chicago World’s Fair Mystery” series. I have not read the other two books in this series but found that it works quite well as a stand-alone. In fact, this is my first book by this author. I’d been eyeing it for my “to-read” list, because I LOVE the title. I think it sounds so mysterious! I love the cover also. I received this book from the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild which I am a part of, under the condition that I read and review it.
The book is set in the late 1800s in Chicago, but I didn’t really find any aspects of the “World’s Fair” in it. Lydia Bancroft is a librarian who loves her job, especially the people-watching aspect of it! Her favorite person to watch is an intimidating-looking man who always stops in the library, everyday, and reads, but never gets a library card and checks anything out.
Sebastian Marks is a lucrative saloon owner. He grew up the son of a prostitute, and he has respect enough for women to not employ them in his saloon for the same job as his mother, but he has very little in the way of compassion. He’s had to make his own upbringing, education, and friends through reading. He is intrigued by Lydia but knows he could never become entangled with her. He doesn’t want to drag her into his dark world; he has enough enemies, and he couldn’t bear to see Lydia hurt.
I loved this book! It kept me hanging throughout it. The characters were unique and made me compassionate for them, and there were plenty of twists and turns. As a book lover, I enjoyed reading a book about another book lover from a different time.
Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.