Hello Dear Readers! Today I am reviewing a fabulous looking new book from author Shelley Grey, Whispers in the Reading Room! I love the cover of this book, it drew me in right away and made me want to know what mystery I was going to uncover inside!
Our heroine is Lydia Bancroft, the librarian for a small reading room in Chicago after the World’s Fair. Lydia loves her little domain of books, helping others love reading, and reading about the faraway places and adventures that she will never experience in person. Having fallen drastically in fortune after her father’s death her mother is doing all in her power to make an advantageous society match for Lydia and restore their fortune and social standing, though willing to help her mother the only way she knows how Lydia would really love to be left to the solace of her books!
When the quiet and mysterious library patron Sebastian Marks comes to Lydia’s rescue one day the two of them begin a whirlwind friendship that knocks Lydia off her feet with his attentions and kindness- and finds her wishing that there might be more than friendship between them. When Lydia finds out that Sebastian is the owner of a notorious underground gambling saloon in the worst part of town she must decide who he really is, who she can trust, and how any relationship between them can survive.
From the first moments of opening this book I was sure I was going to love it- and I did! Whispers in the Reading Room is a zippy read with a smart and resourceful heroine in Lydia. She is someone who has curiosity about the world around her and dreams about what it would be like to be the heroine in one of the books she reads. She is someone who is both a compassionate dutiful daughter and someone who knows her own value. Sebastian is an interesting and different hero who comes from a rough-and-tumble background and has raised himself to prosperity and sophistication through his love of reading.
I found the word play between the two book lovers a delicious treat for a fellow bibliophile and I liked the language banter between them. I even found myself laughing out loud at their discussion of Austen’s Emma as I too would agree with Sebastian’s opinion! J I really loved the author’s writing style too and I as a read through I found myself delighted as I haven’t enjoyed a turn of phrase so much in ages! Shelley Grey is a new author to me and this is the first of her books that I have read but I can’t wait to go and pick up the other two books she’s written under the “A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery” banner!
Overall, this book is a fast paced fun read. Sometimes the relationship between Lydia and Sebastian moves quickly in this novel but I didn’t find it out of place, it just reflected the fast pace of the swinging city. I didn’t find any big red flags in this content wise, many of the scenes take place in Sebastian’s world, which is far from propriety, but nothing was overdone or gratuitous. Whispers reminded me of any number of old black and white films. In fact, though the settings are a bit different, this book really reminded me of the Judy Garland movie The Harvey Girls! Whispers in the Reading Room will be a great weekend read for anyone! In fact, I dare you to try and put it down!
Final Rating: 4.5
I have been given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and opinion of the product.