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Whispers in the Reading Room (The Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series) Paperback – November 10, 2015
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'Gray is a master at integrating rich details and historical accuracies to create an engaging tale that will take the reader back in time, Strong secondary characters are well integrated. It is a shame to see this series end.' - 4 starred (RT Book Reviews)
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: ShelleyShepardGray Twitter: @ShelleySGray
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Top Customer Reviews
If only life were that simple. Sebastian and Lydia inevitably find themselves in the vortex of a city-wide scandal when violence erupts on the front steps of the Silver Grotto, Sebastian's acclaimed gentlemen's club. Threats ensue on both of their lives forcing Lydia to wonder if she will end up alone again with only her memories and story-filled imagination? Was Sebastian Marks ever the right man to claim her heart?
Enjoy this third and final installment in Shelley Gray's enjoyable "Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series".
I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone. 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.
While the title and cover leads one to believe that this mystery will be centered in a library, we actually see very little of the library. Most of the setting revolves in or around Sebastian’s club. This setting makes the novel more difficult to stay in the Christian category. This book will not be for all readers. I hope to help you see where the book shines and where it fell apart for me so that you can decide for yourself whether to add this one to your reading list or not.
As mentioned, the setting sets up for a dark and gritty type of novel. Gray actually does a really good job with these subjects. In context, we pick up dark vices such as prostitution, drinking, gambling, and murder. While there were a few key moments that were slightly shocking, I felt that as a sensitive reader, I wasn’t so put off by Gray’s handling of these hard subjects. The sexual content was extremely light. Prostitution was mentioned various times, but it was mentioned only and never acted out on the page. The relationship between the couple was very tasteful. There were mentions of beatings and using one’s fists to gain respect or to get results, but again, these acts were mentioned and not seen on the page. For me personally, the most disappointing thing was how Sebastian made his money. While he has a form of reformation towards the end, his drinking and selling drink was never repented of and was a deal breaker for this dry Christian. Many won’t agree with me, but for those that do, you’ll want to know that this isn’t the book for you.
Another disappointing factor was Lydia’s acceptance of sin in general. We’re led to believe that she’s a Christian character from the start of the book, but I found this to be very inconsistent. Whispers in the Reading Room was a classic story of a good girl falling in love with a bad guy. I kept waiting for Sebastian to have a change of heart and change of direction, and to some degree he has one. What I found most disturbing was that the further we went into the story, the more accepting Lydia was of him AS he was.
Here’s a sample from the novel: The couple has just broken into a locked building for the sake of exploring and entertaining themselves for the hour. “She realized he was enjoying the wickedness of it all. He liked that they were somewhere forbidden. He liked that they were standing somewhere that broke every rule of both society and its laws.
As for her? She liked it too. After a lifetime of merely existing in her world of books, she liked actually living. ‘It is wondrous,’ she replied.”
While Sebastian grew to have some unrest for leading Lydia into places that she shouldn’t have been, SHE never shows any remorse for this. In fact, when he later explains that he wants to reform his sinful business dealings she actually tells him that she doesn’t expect that of him. It was never her intention to change him. While on the outside this sounds noble, when dealing with sin, it was anything but.
The story was engaging. It kept my interest until the very end. But I’m sorry to say that the Christian aspect of it was unsettling and I wasn’t able to overlook it. I don’t require a strong message, just a sound one and I hate to say that I didn’t find it here.
~I received a copy from BookLook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Read more
I liked the story. It was nice to read some thing that spoke of a relationship with GOD in our everyday lives.