Thursday, December 10, 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room

GIVEAWAY

GRAY, SHELLEY
WHISPERS IN THE READING ROOM

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.

My Review:

Oh mercy -- if you are looking for a hero to swoon over, Sebastian Marks is your man. I melted into a puddle of goo a number of times while reading Whispers in the Reading Room. I mean who can resist a man who loves books and libraries? And the kicker is that Sebastian isn't your classic hero material. He runs a gambling hall for goodness sakes! And while his ability to drag himself up from the dregs of society is commendable, his methods of success are questionable.

But Gray makes it work -- largely because of the insights we glean from Sebastian's visits to the reading room. The contrast between the literary man who finds solace in the company of books and the rough and exacting taskmaster at his club is absolutely intriguing. Take a look at this description of Sebastian leaving the library to go back to the seedier side of town where he runs his business:

"It took Sebastian Marks almost four blocks to shake off the cool feeling of serenity he'd enjoyed at the library. As the number of people around him doubled, then tripled, he forced himself to push away everything about his time at the Lincoln Lending Library. A gent like him was liable to get himself killed otherwise. After another block, he added a swagger to his step and a bit more menace to his expression." (p. 4)

Is it any wonder that he catches Lydia's eye? He's not the usual run-of-the-mill library patron, that's for sure. Without ever saying a word to one another they manage to create an alluring intimacy of awareness from the very first page. Delicious toe-curling stuff. An unlikely friendship slowly develops. Sebastian is intrigued by Lydia's unusual mix of wide-eyed innocence and striking intelligence. She's lived most of her life in the pages of books and he suddenly appears offering her abundant real-life adventures.

Once again, Gray throws her characters into Chicago's darker underbelly. Something sinister is going on, there's mystery and murder afoot and Sebastian finds himself in the role of protector, Lydia the damsel in distress that needs rescuing. But soon lines become blurred and it's no longer clear who is rescuing whom. Because Lydia grabs hold of his heart and challenges him to believe in the kind of future he never dared dream of.

The third and final book in A Chicago's World Fair Mystery series. Reads wonderfully well as a standalone, but if you have read Sloane House and Deception on Sable Hill, you'll be thrilled to meet up with police detectives Sean Ryan and Owen Howard.

My thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group and Zondervan for providing me with a copy of this book.

http://litfusegroup.com/author/sgray

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:


If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Whispers in the Reading Room please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday December 13 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

36 comments:

  1. Wow, this was a very detailed and long review. It's the second one this week that I have read praising the swoon. That's enough for me. haha
    tlhcoupon(at)Hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I tried not to be so wordy, but I couldn't figure out how. That's my New Year's resolution -- to be more succinct in my reviews....wonder how long it will take me to break it? Bwahahaha! Good luck, Terrill.

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    2. I hope I didn't sound like I was complaining. I wasn't, believe me. If you are trying to be more succinct, I'm sure it's for your own sanity, because of all of the reading and review writing that you do. What I appreciate in your reviews (long or not) is that you don't give much away. This is why I tend to skim reviews. Unfortunately, I have a knack for reading between the lines and figuring out major plot points by the little bit reviewers share. You can't give me a present until right before I need to open it or I will figure out its contents. I have to play dumb with my kids every year. hahaha

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    3. Not at all...I just know that sometimes I can wax poetic when I enthuse about a book. LOL There's so much to say and it's hard for me to know what to leave out.

      And yes, I agree with you about not liking reviews that post spoilers. That drives me crazy too.

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  2. Wow, now that is a book selling review! I love how you can snag our attention and make us want to rush out to grab the book. Swoon worthy hero, here I come!

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    1. I am rather enthusiastic about Mr. Marks, aren't I? Wavering into a swoon just thinking about him. Good luck, Susan.

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  3. Your review definitely makes me want to read more about Sebastian and Lydia!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  4. I am so excited about this book. A library backdrop and a book loving hero? Right up my alley! Thanks for the wonderful review and giveaway Kav!
    momrain(AT)aol(DOT)com

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    1. I always get a thrill when a librarian is the heroine. Good luck, Loraine.

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  5. Sounds like a good mystery! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

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  6. She is one of my favorites. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom.

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  7. waiting to add this to my shelf so I can finally read all three! I just can't start one without knowing I can immediately go on to the next one.lol

    ladepooh AT hotmail dot com

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    1. You have more self-control than I do, Lea. I have to read them as soon as I get them. Good luck.

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  8. Eek! I loved the other books in this series, and I can't wait to read this one! Would love to be entered!
    pocoauthorATgmailDOTcom

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    1. You're entered, Nicole. Good luck.

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  9. Sounds very intriguing!

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  10. Very descriptive review. Definitely makes me want to rush out and buy a copy.
    reneerachoyolsenATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Glad I could be convincing! Good luck, Heather.

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  11. Now just look at this cover, It's the first thing that drew me to this book, the second thing was when I saw who the author was, swoon ! Your review makes me want to read it all the more. Love that review. Must read this !

    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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    1. Yes -- I love whatever Shelley chooses to write. Good luck, Deanne.

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  12. Great review! It sounds like someone is crushing on the main guy in this one. :) My favorite genre is mystery, that in addition to the book taking place in the Victorian time period makes this a MUST read for me!! eeyore722(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I love that combination of history and mystery too. And yes....I might be crushing on a certain hero...just a little a bit but so will you be when you read this book. Good luck, Cindy.

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  13. A mystery man who plays both sides...hmmm...fascinating! What does Lydia find in him that draws her in......there's gotta be a story behind that, one I'm very interested in reading!!
    I've not read the first two in this series, so it's nice to know it can stand alone. But since you know me, I would HAVE to read the first two for that depth of character and multi-layered story I so admire!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. It actually reads very well as a standalone, Trixi. The best book in the series for that. And this hero -- wow, such great background and conflict. Good luck, Trixi.

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  14. Wow, what a review! I love mysteries and after reading your review, this one is a must. I'll have to read the first two as well.
    Can't wait to get started. Thanks for the great review.
    pwestfall7 at hotmail dot com

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    1. You're welcome, Pam. Good luck, Pam.

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  15. I love the sound of this one. Thank you, Kav!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. You're welcome, Melanie. Good luck.

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  16. Shelley Gray is my new favourite author and I definitely agree that her heroes are swoonworthy!

    Count me in, please.

    janka(dot)halcinova(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. She's out done herself with this hero! Good luck, Janka.

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  17. WOW!! What an unusual story line - have to read this one!! Thanks for the wonderful review, Kav!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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