The Chicago World’s Fair was a gigantic event for the locals in Chicago, especially local librarian Lydia Bancroft. She is fascinated with many things, books being one of them; and another one being a mysterious, incredibly handsome man that frequents the library. This man never speaks to any one, but Lydia knows that he is a lover books as she is, which peaks her interest every time she sees him.
Sebastian Marks is a man of mystery for a reason. He wants complete anonymity as a man that loves to read books because he is one of the most feared men in Chicago. One that surely has no time to take leisurely moments to read. Not only is Sebastian one of the most wealthy men in Chicago, which is all Lydia learns at first, he is also the owner of the infamous saloon and gambling club in town. He tries to keep the past buried for good reason, but will his interest in Lydia destroy every thing he has worked to hard to control and maintain?
The budding friendship between Lydia and Sebastian is deeply rattled as Lydia discovers this appalling news about Sebastian. But trying to step out of her naive personal box, she insists on visiting this infamous club to see more for herself. As she is there though, things turn bad, very bad in fact. She, along with others, are now suspects in a brutal murder. Now Lydia must determine whom she can trust, who is innocent, and finally, if Sebastian Marks is the man she feels he is, or his is the one Chicago thinks he is.
Through numerous twists and turns Lydia must decide what are the true facts and which one are the fabricated ones. And will the discovery of the the truth find Lydia in more danger or will Chicago have to reassess what they thought of Sebastian Marks?
This is the third book in A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series, and I was completely captivated with Shelley Gray and her story! I have not read any thing by Shelley Gray before and I will now most assuredly make sure to gather the other books in this series to read more of her writings.
This story with Lydia and Sebastian was such a well written story about the time of the Chicago World’s Fair. I enjoyed all of the documented facts that are sprinkled throughout the story. It felt well researched and I love that I can read a story that does not conflict with the truth.
The character Lydia is a woman after my own heart. She is better at conversations in her head, and loves to have a good book to read. Her socially awkward moments felt so real to me and the fact that she tried to handle her self with ladylike grace always amused me. One of the best characters I have read lately. She had a hidden side that thrived on adventure but she also had a deep sense of right and wrong that she tried to temper her decisions on. Sometimes failing but most times relying on God to help her make some tough decisions.
Sebastian is the epitome of tall, dark, & handsome! Hmmmm, how I love a man of mystery! This man fits the bill with his devilishly good looks and the air of mystery that he tries desperately to keep up. But my heart melted when I learned his back story. This man worked hard to become what he was but yearned for a life that he had never had. I enjoyed watching him blossom under the gaze of Lydia and was so pleased with end result of their relationship.
This was a wonderful story that was laced with intrigue and mystery but was also filled with gentleness and grace. A book that kept me glued to its pages well into the night as I could not put it down; I flipped the pages as quickly as I could. I was utterly enthralled with the characters and their story, it was so fun with just the right amount of suspense and danger. Absolutely one of my favorites as of late and I will definitely add Shelley Gray to my Must-Read list!
About the book
Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.
Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.
Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.
Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks-the man so many people fear-is actually everything her heart believes him to be.
Purchase a copy: Whispers in the Reading Room
About the author
Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.
I hope you enjoy this book review and I look forward to sharing the next book I have on my book shelf!
In His Grace.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the TNZ Fiction Guild blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”