Whispers in the Reading Room (Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series #3)

Whispers in the Reading Room (Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series #3)

by Shelley Gray


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310338499
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 11/10/2015
Series: Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series , #3
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 321,176
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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. Visit her website at www.shelleyshepardgray.com Facebook: Shelley Shepard Gray Twitter: @Shelley SGray

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Whispers in the Reading Room 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I've read lately and I read a great deal. This book is written so well you are drawn back in time and place to fall in love with each well-developed character. I wanted to hurry to know the ending and yet never finish the story. To me, that is what makes a really satisfying book.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
Third and final book in the Chicago World's Fair series. Once again, an interesting, well written historical novel of a time when class distinction meant everything. This one was a little slower paced than the first two. The Christian belief references once again simply did not belong in these books. Bible quotes belong in the bible. This book was not described as Christian Fiction by Barnes & Noble. Overall and enjoyable series. Well edited.
booksandwindows More than 1 year ago
I went into this book thinking it wouldn’t be for me — it’s set during the Chicago World’s Fair, which hasn’t interested me in the past. But, was I wrong or what? I ended up loving this book! It pulled me in quickly and I was engaged throughout. I absolutely loved the witty characters and the smart dialogue, as well as the mysterious feeling that not all had ever been revealed. At any given moment, some new twist could surprise me, and I was riveted. (But where are Lydia’s glasses on this cover? ) I highly recommend this one and plan to go back and read the first two books in Shelley Gray’s Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series myself! (And this one made it to my top reads of 2015!) *I received this book from Thomas Nelson Zondervan Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.*
bjdoureaux More than 1 year ago
4.5 Lydia Bancroft's world is a world of books, until a mysterious, dark-eyed man begins to frequent the reading room where she works as a librarian. He never speaks a word to her until a chance meeting puts him in the position to be her rescuer. She soon discovers that he is none other than the infamous Sebastian Marks, one of the most powerful men in Chicago. They are both hesitant as they form a friendship, until Lydia discovers that Mr. Marks runs a club with illegal gambling. She insists that he bring her to the club, and things take a turn for the worse when someone is murdered. Lydia must decide if she can truly trust Sebastian, and he must decide if Lydia can remain in his life. Getting the negative out of the way, the writing is sometimes lacking, technically. It occurs mostly in the show-don't-tell sense. In some instances, we are definitely being told. We also get a lot of backstory through flashbacks, pulling the reader out of the present timeline for a while. It was these moments that prevented me from getting truly lost in this book. That being said, the story itself was really good, and made it hard for me to put the book down. The characters were well written, and I enjoyed their interactions with each other, including the supporting cast. The characters are flawed. Some of them (most of them) are criminals. It is, after all, Chicago after the World's Fair. Seeing as this is a Christian novel, some people may find some of the content objectionable. There is violence, though not graphic, and mentions of prostitution which is mostly acknowledgement of its existence. But there is a Christian message here if you are willing to see it. It's redemption. The characters speak of God occasionally, but I think the lesson to take away from this novel is that, for those who have gone astray, the road to redemption can be very dark. And sometimes the road is darkest just before the redemption. This novel is the third in Gray's Chicago World's Fair series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. If you're looking for a quick read with a hint romance and mystery, this novel is worth your time.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
Whispers in the Reading Room is book three of the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series but can be easily read as a standalone. I’ve not read the first two, but have already added them to my must read pile. This is the first of Shelley Gray’s books that I’ve read and I was extremely impressed. The story is a great contrast of a prim and proper librarian and a rascal turned crime boss. Two unlikely hearts that are drawn together by the love of books. I loved the mystery of “who done it” along with the romantic twist of Lydia and Sebastian. Ms. Gray did a wonderful job of keeping the suspense moving and showing the developing relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed Whispers in the Reading Room and would absolutely recommend the books. I received this book from the Fiction Guild and Zondervan Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion which I’ve provided here. https://wordynerdyblog.wordpress.com/2016-book-reviews/whispers-in-the-reading-room/
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
Having now completed the series, I think I'd say this was my favorite of the trilogy. Though it technically takes place after the close of the Chicago World's Fair, Gray still finds a way to work the fairgrounds into the plot here, which was nice since the fair felt nearly non-existent in Book 2. I found this book to have some of the best atmosphere, what with the split between the peace and coziness of the library scenes vs the moments in Chicago's urban underbelly of 1893. I liked the way the relationship between Sebastian and Lydia progressed, the pace of it. Likewise, I like how the "bad guys" were developed. Though it might have made me cringe to hear Lydia's fiancee's speeches on how she needed to give up her bookish silliness once they were married, that kind of jerk was needed to illuminate Sebastian's soft side when he talks of his love of Lydia's intelligence and love of literature. I'm a book blogger, how am I not going to swoon a bit over the tough guy who loves the bookish girl?
Yamma1212 More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 stars for Whispers in the Reading Room! This is the first book by Shelley Gray I've read, and I'd definitely be willing to read others. Please note, I have not read the first two books in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series. Librarian Lydia Bancroft is fascinated by one of her library patrons. When he saves her from being treated roughly by her fiance, she learns the mysterious stranger's name is Sebastian Marks, he lives in the top of the Hartman Hotel, and most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him. Lydia and Sebastian strike up an unlikely friendship and Lydia's eyes are opened as she learns more about her city than she has ever known when she asks Sebastian to visit his gambling club one night. I feel that some topics were just stuck in the book to be there (faith, for example), and could have been woven into the book earlier and more thoroughly, and I felt some of the story lines were tied up in a hurry, with no real resolution. I tend to enjoy epilogues, and think one would have been nice in this case. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to a friend! I was given a free copy of this book by the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
swimreadbreathe4JC More than 1 year ago
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.
Jeanine More than 1 year ago
Actually the 3rd book in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series Whispers in the Reading Room was a fun read. It begins with Lydia Bancroft, librarian in a small library, drawn to a stranger that intrigues her with his quiet and mysterious manner. She doesn’t know anything about him, even his name, but the love of books is enough to have her interested in him. Lydia is a single young woman with a mother who has lost all hope after the death of her husband, and can only rely on Lydia to marry well so that they can recoup their losses and live well. Lydia is engaged to John, who her mother thinks is wealthy and a good catch, however, John is actually hoping he can marry well as gambling debts have racked up and he needs a wealthy wife to support his expensive habit. When the two of them go to tea at the fashionable Hartman Hotel, John catches sight of the mysterious man and thinks that Lydia knows him. Jealousy takes over and things escalate quickly. The man, Sebastian Marks, comes to her rescue and she finds herself falling for him very quickly. What she doesn’t know is Mr Marks is not all she thinks he is. He owns one of the most well known gambling houses in the worst part of the city. From there, things twist and turn until a murder occurs and both Lydia and Sebastian find themselves accused of the crime. Shelley Gray has done a great job of introducing characters into a great story line, making me want to read the other books that go in this series.
BeckBeckBG More than 1 year ago
At first, this book took some getting use to. And then the pace picked up. This book is set in the late 1800's in Chicago. The sweet entanglement begins when Sebastian Marks enters the library where Lydia Bancroft works. He comes several times a week for one year. They never speak and he always sits and reads at the library. He never checks out a book. Lydia is engaged to the prestigious Jason Avondale. While dining at the Hartman Hotel, Jason becomes violent towards Lydia and accuses her of bad behavior. Mr. Marks witnesses the exchange and comes to Lydia's rescue. The two become friends and Avondale grows more jealous and suspicious. The engagement is called off and Avondale learns that Lydia isn't a heiress. Meanwhile, poor Lydia has to keep up with the constant whining of her demanding mother and continue to go to work to put food on the table. Their financial situation grows dimmer by the minute. Mr. Marks becomes aware of their money problems and sends over his personal maid to help. Lydia and Sebastian begin spending more and more time together. Sebastian falls in love with Lydia and the two begin a courtship. Sebastian eventually comes clean about his unsavory business and immediately the two are thrust into legal troubles. They are thrown many obstacles to overcome before someone tries to snuff them out.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Whispers in the Reading Room A Chicago World's Fair Mystery #3 By Shelley Gray Lydia Bancroft loves books and her job in the library is a pure pleasure. And her favorite patron never checks-out a book, he doesn't have a library card, and Lydia doesn't know his name. He's a perfect gentleman and makes frequent use of the Reading Room and the books. Who is this person who seemingly loves books as much as her? Sebastian Marks is not who Lydia thinks him to be. His mysterious nature is a cloak to hide his past - a past that he has left behind. A man to be feared if Chicago gossip is to be believed. But there is a part of him that wants to be something more than what he is and Lydia intrigues him. When given the opportunity to offer Lydia a service - rescuing her from a most unpleasant situation - the two form a most unusual friendship. And this friendship will leave a lasting impact on not only Lydia and Sebastian but on those closest to them. But danger is lurking the streets of Chicago and in the less affluent areas murders are becoming more numerous. Unfortunately for Lydia her name is linked to the latest one - her reputation is damaged, an advantageous marriage seems unlikely, and her mother is horrified. What's a young woman with limited means to do? Lydia is about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. Are you ready to enter the Reading Room and take a step back in time? This is the first time I've read any of Shelley Gray's books and I have to admit I'm intrigued with the conclusion of this series so I now have to go back a step further in time and acquaint myself with the first two books in the series, which I'm pleased to say I can pick-up in my own library - though I will check them out. Unlike Sebastian I do have a library card. I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.
readerscozycorner More than 1 year ago
An adventurous story in the heart of Chicago at the time of the World's Fair. This book is a great look at life in Chicago in the late 1800's. At the start of the book you are captivated by all the things that are going on. The crime is really shocking even so many years ago. I really liked this book when it started. I was intrigued and excited to keep reading. The problem I had was that by the end of the book I was so bored I just wanted it to end. The writing is done very well but I felt like the suspense just wasn't there. I could definitely see where her other books could be awesome because this one started off that way and then just kind of sputtered out. I think the biggest reason I got bored was because there was no guessing who the bad guy was. The book pretty much tells you about three quarters of the way through and then you have to read ten more chapters to find out for sure. The climax just wasn't there. I have actually heard very good things about the other books in this series and I would love to read them. I know a lot of others have felt similar about this book as I did. Overall this book left me wanting more suspense and mystery. However I am very much looking forward to reading the other books in this series. Thank you to the Thomas Nelson/ Zondervan Fiction Guild for the opportunity to review this book. A positive review was not required.
SavannaKaiser More than 1 year ago
This story started with sparks and kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could read them. I loved the hero and heroine and their bond over books. Who doesn’t love to read about a character who loves books as much as we do, right? ;) AND it’s set in a library! The mystery of this tale, along with the romance and unique historical setting, is one I won’t easily forget. I was pulled into the intrigue and suspense of it all, but throughout the book it was the love story that fully captured my heart. I instantly fell for Sebastian, just as Lydia did. He was a great hero who is battling his past and present with who he wants to be in the future. I enjoyed watching their relationship take hold and his protectiveness over Lydia from the start. There’s a sense of magnetism about this story that will easily hook readers. Even though this book is part of a series, it was strong enough to be a stand-alone as well, in my opinion. I couldn’t really find anything I didn’t enjoy about it. I always like “walking in the shoes” of people from the past, especially those from different walks of life. Whispers in the Reading Room was a delight from start to finish. This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Thomas Nelson & Zondervan’s Fiction Guild for my copy
taralynee More than 1 year ago
What an interesting book. I’ve honestly never read anything like it. In spite of from some repetitious phrases (especially differing forms of “Lydia gasped”..), I really enjoyed it. This story is about a librarian and the fragile, unlikely friendship she finds herself in the midst of with one of her library’s patrons… a patron who also happens to be the owner of one of Chicago’s most notorious gambling bars. Naively on the verge of a ruined reputation, Lydia becomes determined to visit the questionable business when she discovers its existence and connection to her friend, Sebastian. Between the mysterious murders and accusations coming at them from every direction, it’s a fairly dark tale… but this, at the same time, has quite a redemptive plot. Sebastian, Lydia, and the others I came to know in this book struggle much with their need to be needed and to stop hiding behind facades. They must learn to be honest with each other, and rely on God and His redeeming grace and mercy, in order to truly live. What food to compare this book to?! I’m at a loss. I think I’ll go with salted chocolate chip cookies.. with caramels inside as a surprise. This book surprised me many times. The plot kept me guessing, and there were more layers and flavors than I was expecting.
Pooke More than 1 year ago
Some Enchanted Afternoon Was it her imagination, or did librarian Lydia Bancroft just catch that handsome man staring at her in the reading room? Set in 1893 Chicago, bookish Lydia was brought up to be part of a society she is secretly no longer a member of, those who are very rich. Her mother and her were left almost penniless after her father's death. Mrs. Bancroft insists they try to keep up appearances, not revealing their financial losses, and hope Lydia will make a good match with a rich man. You may see a stranger... Jason seems to be just such a man, and has proposed to Lydia. Mrs. Bancroft has pinned all her hopes of getting out of poverty on this marriage. On paper, this appears to be a good match, but in real life, things aren't coming together as easily. Also, Jason may not be what he seems. Additionally, there is the attraction Lydia feels towards the mystery man from the library, who she learns is Sebastian Marks. Across a crowded room. As Marks and Lydia go from strangers to friends, she is warned that Sebastian is very rich, but also a man feared by most of Chicago. She is told he is from the worst part of town, and involved in unseemly businesses. Yet this doesn't sound like the well-read and obviously well-educated, kind gentleman Lydia has spent some time with. Mystery, danger and unanswered questions swirl around Sebastian. You will find your true love....but will Lydia? Before this story ends, a body is found, Lydia will be a murder suspect, and her finances will look even more grim. Worse yet, in her mother's eyes, Lydia may lose her place in polite society. She also finds that books aren't a substitute for real life and friends, but will that knowledge come in time for her to find true happiness? Will Lydia get involved with a man who is secretly violent, and could ultimately hurt her? Or is she destined never to find love, and will Lydia, along with her mother, be forced to live out their days in poverty? This story really kept my interest, and the descriptions of life and the city at that time rang true. Having the book set just after the Chicago World's Fair brought in an interesting aspect to the story. This is a clean tale, from a Christian viewpoint. I wish there would have been an epilogue at the end. Something that gave a little more about what happened with the four main characters, especially down the road a few years. Whispers in the Reading Room is the third book in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series, but this story definitely stands on its own. This is an enjoyable 5-star book, and well-written. I recommend it to those who like mysteries, romances or stories set in the late 1800's. Zondervan Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Whispers in the Reading Room for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
bntyle01 More than 1 year ago
In a place like Chicago it is easy to remain unseen; so many people, so much excitement, how easy it would be to fade in the background. It is also a world where anyone could become anybody. We all hold our secrets, some clinging more tightly to them than others. In a place like Chicago where anyone can be invisible, what does it take for people to truly become visible? Lydia Bancroft has become entranced with a mysterious gentleman patron at her library. Her world has always been so safe prior to seeing her mystery patron, but all of the sudden it seems to be flipping upside down. The world she has so delicately invented for herself seems to be threatened by his presence and she knows nothing about this man. Sebastian Marks is a man who enjoys his privacy and has gone to great lengths to ensure it. He does not afford himself the luxury of getting to close to anyone. Mr. Marks has created an air about himself that demands respect, even if that respect has been gained through fear. He too has created a world for himself; a world weaved together out of secrets. Mr. Marks’ love of literature, a deeply concealed secret, had sent his world colliding with that of Ms. Bancroft’s. In a setting like Chicago, where anyone could be invisible and could be anyone, how will these stories that based on appearances could not be more polar opposite evolve? Shelley Gray created an adventure for her readers. This is her third installment of her Chicago World’s Fair series. I have not read the first two novels in the series and was worried that it might take away from this one, it does not. I am excited now to go back and read the first two! She develops her characters is such a complex way that your feelings change about them as read, some moments you are rooting for them and then you start to detest them only a moment later to fall back in love with them again. It is truly a journey you are traveling with her characters and one you won’t want to leave. Gray summed up my feelings about this book on the second page, “She knew those dual feelings well – the satisfaction of completing a well-written piece of literature while also coming to terms with the fact that those few moments of pure bliss would soon be replaced with a longing for more.”
TBCN More than 1 year ago
I was hooked to the story right from the start. I was instantly dropped into a library, hanging out with Lydia; a woman who is opinionated and adores books. There is a mysterious handsome nameless man who has frequented the reading room several times a week now for the past several months. He sits in his favorite chair and keeps his nose in a serious of books. This current one was about Lewis and Clark. “She noted the expression on his face when he read the last word in the book. He looked pleased and just a bit melancholy. She knew those dual feelings well – the satisfaction of completing a well-written piece of literature while also coming to terms with the fact that those few moments of pure bliss would soon be replaced with a longing for more.” Sebastian the mystery man ponders something, “Only when he was along did his mind drift back to Miss Lydia Bancroft. The way she rarely chattered on like most females of his acquaintance. The way she shelved books like they were old friends. How she seemed to be more at ease with a room full of books than with people.” Both of these characters had a love affair with the written word. Each eager to go on adventures and learn all they could from the characters they met. This author did an amazing job of dropping me into this reading room where I too love to spend my time. This love of books brought them together and made me love this novel even more. I instantly connected with these likable characters and found their situation and the times they lived in fascinating. This is book three in the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series (that reads as a standalone) the series is set in Chicago during the late 1890’s. I didn’t feel lost at all. Lydia learns this mysterious strangers name when he saves her from a dangerous situation inside the Hartman hotel. Their paths cross again in an unexpected way. Lydia seeks to have an adventure in real life not just experiencing those she reads in books. Sebastian and Lydia’s encounter is filled with twists and turns that change their life forever. This story is skillfully written. It’s filled with mystery, fun and intrigue. I loved how this author had the character’s interact with word games and sometimes battles and banters that made me giggle. It seemed most of the characters in this story were hiding their inner selves from one another. Each hiding behind a confident show they put on for the world to see. In the process trying to discover who they truly were when no one was around leading them to what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. Each had their own tangled web to climb through filled with lies, deception to get through to who they wanted to be, discover friendships, faith and true love. I enjoyed this story. It’s a great book to read for fun and would make a great book club pick. There are 9 thought provoking questions in the back to help generate lively discussion at your meeting. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook blog site. 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” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
I love libraries! The feel, the smell, the semi-quiet. Many of the same things the heroine, Lydia Bancroft, likes about the library where she is employed. She works in the Reading Room, helping patrons with book selections, issuing library cards, and grabbing a bit of time between to catch some reading herself. The very moment Sebastian Marks, the hero, enters for the first time, she notices. She is aware of his presence, where he is sitting and even notices the selections he reads from, after he leaves. To be so totally different they also have many things in common. Unknown to her at the beginning, Sebastian runs a drinking and gambling estashlishment. He is also very rich. Unlike his beginnings as Samuel Marx, son of a prostitute, he vowed to climb his way out of the slums and poverty to make something of himself. Lydia is struggling to make ends meet after the death of her father and trying to take care of her very demanding mother. Lydia is not apposed to taking a risk for adventures sake every now and then, but it puts her as well as Sebastian in precarious situations more than once. A couple of employees hired by Sebastian added noteworthy characters into the mix, as well as a sleazy owner of another drinking and gambling establishment. There also were gang members roaming the streets causing fear in those they came in contact with. Many of the streets in Chicago were not safe. This novel was very gripping, containing mystery, murder, and romance. The characters seem to be hiding their true selves under their respective employment situations. And leaving God totally out of their daily lives and situations. Will they all realize before it's too late their real need for Him in their everyday lives? This is book three in the Chicago World's Fair mystery series but not having read the first two books, I had no problem keeping up with the storyline. I received this book through The Fiction Guild for my honest review, which I have given and have received no compensation.
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. So, here goes! :) Overall, it was a pretty good book. If you are a fan of Christian romances, you'll probably like this book! It's set in Chicago, just after the World's Fair, in 1893. Personally, I like that the main character works in a library, since I work in a small bookstore, and really love books. Also, the characters who fall in love with each other have some obstacles to overcome, so that keeps it a bit more interesting than some romances I've read. I am not a big lover of what I call "just plain romance". ;) I like it when there is a mystery or something like that. This author is a new one for me, and one thing I like about her writing is that she doesn't give away all the info about a character at one time-there's a bit of mystery going on that makes you want to know what is going to happen! All that said, now here is a little negative-some things are a little hard to believe, and it is a little cheesy in spots. However, I think if you are a romance book reader, which I must say I am normally not, you will really like this book!
Gretchen525 More than 1 year ago
Whispers in the Reading Room was a book I could not put down. Almost instantly I felt transported to Chicago just after the time of the the city's infamous World Fair. The sights of the city, the life in back alleys, and the great divide between the upper and middle class is transparent. Perhaps though, my absolute favorite part of this book is the characters. Shelley Gray does a phenomenal job of making her characters leap off the page and straight into the readers heart! Lydia Bancroft and Sebastian Marks are worlds apart. Yet their love for reading and undeniable attraction for one another draws them closer than the two could have ever imagined. Sebastian Marks is swoon worthy as he takes Lydia under his wing and slowly, painstakingly slowly, allows his heart to feel for a woman who's naïveté about real life draws him in. Sebastian's past seems to follow him at every turn, yet his devotion and attraction to Lydia, and their ensuing friendship help transform both his past, present and future. Lydia, who is in a precarious financial and relational situation herself, has noticed Mr. Marks in her reading room for quite a while now. However it is not until an eye opening and disastrous lunch with her fiancee brings her face to face with this mysterious man, and the beginning of a relationship starts. Lydia is learning to finally lean on someone else for help and gets a dose of reality as she jumps into a world vastly different from the books she loves to read. Can she trust Mr. Marks? Is he really who he says he is? Is a relationship with this man even possible? I highly recommend this book to all historical fiction fans. If you love romance, mystery and history then this story of love, second chances and friendship is a must read!
lmbartelt More than 1 year ago
Two days after reading this book, I wandered through Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, which is one of two remaining buildings from the Chicago World's Fair, the backdrop for Shelley Gray's mystery series. I could not help but think of Lydia and Sebastian and the time period as I walked through the area in present day. Lydia the librarian is a fun character, and her attraction and attachment to Sebastian Marks is an interesting relationship. When she becomes the center of a murder investigation, it's hard to put the book down. I read the first book in this series, but not the second. It's possible I missed a couple of references, but I didn't feel lost. My biggest hang-up about the book is that Lydia is described as having glasses and the girl on the cover does not have glasses. It doesn't take away from the story itself, but I like the descriptions to match. It's a good series if you love a good mystery, and if you have a fondness for Chicago, I'd call it a must-read, just for the nostalgia.
THersh27 More than 1 year ago
A librarian named Lydia Bancroft finds herself very intrigued by a special patron that comes to the library, but never checks out a book. Sebastian Marks is an elusive man who has many secrets. After rescuing her from a disaster at the Hartman Hotel, they form a friendship. However, Lydia soon learns there is more to Mr. Marks than she ever would have dreamed. This is the third book in the Chicago World's Fair series, however it can stand alone. The characters are complex and very well developed. As this mystery unfolds you find yourself getting drawn deeper and deeper into the book. By the time I got to the end, I couldn't put it down because I had to know what was going to happen. This was by far one of the best mysteries I've read in a while! If you love mysteries with a splash of romance you will love this one. **I received this book free from the publisher through The Fiction Guild by Thomas Nelson/Zondervan. 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.”
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
I am not a huge fan of mystery novels, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed this one. The writing was so descriptive and detailed that it made the setting and the characters come alive. The characters really do make this story. I love the multiple layers of Sebastian and how he is a diamond in the rough. He is such a good person, but has all the baggage from his past that is holding him back. I do wish there were more character lessons in the book. Hunt and Bridget have some spiritual discussions, but there weren't many lessons to take away from the story. I would love to read a follow-up story featuring Hunt and Bridget. I would be interested to see where their relationship might go and it would be great to revisit Sebastian and Lydia. All in all, this book offers a little bit for everyone, whether you are a romance fan, mystery fan, or a history fan. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
I love to read, and I would love to have a library like Lydia's. I was a little surprised that she decided to go to the saloon and knew that she was going to get into trouble. However as more characters were introduced I realized that there was a lot more at stake. Not to mention a budding romance. I liked everything about this book, and can not wait to read more. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.
AngelaBycroftNZ More than 1 year ago
Whispers in the Reading Room Shelley Gray Not your usual cosy mystery. Book 3 of the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series opens after the end of the fair with the spectre of the remains of the fair grounds as a rather gloomy and scary background. Having not yet read books 1 and 2, I can safely say the book 3 comfortably can be read as a stand alone although the first two books are now not he agenda. Lydia Bancroft is a librarian who loves to people watch, especially her favourite patron who comes in regularly - never to borrow a book, only to sit in the far corner and read. This fascinates Lydia and she determine to discover this mans secrets. Their paths cross at a local hotel when her fiancé takes to rather rough handling of her and her benefactor steps in. From that moment on, Lydia’s new found friend takes on roll of protector and shows her that her fiancé isn’t quite the man she thought he was. But Sebastian is quite the mystery man himself. Owning a rather dubious drinking and gambling establishment - this is one different kind of leading man. The two find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery right in Sebastian’s own club. Not a place Lydia would have imagined for herself. Will she discover the true Sebastian and cab he be the man she really needs in her life. Whispers in the Reading Room offers that wonderful cozy fireside read, with enough uniqueness in it’s plotting that the reader is left wanting to turn it’s pages as quickly as possible. Highly recommended.