Book Review | Whispers in the Reading Room

Whispers in the Reading Room
Chicago World's Fair Mystery #3
Shelley Gray
Publisher:  Zondervan
Genre:  Christian Fiction, Mysteries, Romance
Released:  November 10th, 2015
{Goodreads}
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.

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
The third in the Chicago World's Fair mystery series, and, perhaps, my favorite!  I have LOVED this entire trilogy and it's mysteries.  But I do believe that Lydia's story is my personal favorite.  I suppose it's because I feel I can relate to her the most out of all the other heroines.  She loves books and she loves food (but not so much that she's greedy and grubby).  :]

Lydia Bancroft is your typical introvert.  With the death of her father a few years prior, she and her mother were left with many financial issues and forced to live rather modestly.  Hence, Lydia manages the lending library.  But she loves her job and the books she works with.  Her life consists of books and caring for her mother, making sure they have just enough to live on.

Sebastian Marks is one of the wealthiest men in the city of Chicago.  He owns the Silver Grotto, the up-town, well-known club, which specializes in drinks and gambling.  However, although his career as a businessman has proved profitable over the years, he longs for a quiet, more respectable life.  And so, for the past year, he visits Lydia's lending library, losing himself among the shelves and stories.  They eventually speak and strike up an unlikely friendship.

{Positives}
Lydia seems content with her life.  She works faithfully and, though she must pawn off many of their possessions, makes sure her mother lives as comfortably as possible.  She loves working at the library and one can tell she's very intelligent.  

{Negatives}
The rougher streets of Chicago are filled with many things.  And one in a desperate situation is willing to do most anything to survive.  Even if that includes giving up one's purity for pay.  
Gambling.  A man owes a club many thousands of dollars, with apparently no intention of repaying.
  
{Spiritual Content}
Several of the characters realize that their faith has fallen and they seek to strengthen it.

{Violence}
Murder mystery!  There are many cases of murders and attacks, as reported by a journalist at the beginning of the chapters.

A man bruises a women's wrist in anger.  A pot of tea spills onto a woman's hand, causing some minor burns.  Fistfights.  Beatings.  

A man is stabbed and a woman is shot in the arm.  Both survive, just minor injuries. 
 
{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
"Whore" is mentioned, I believe. . . 

Mr Marks owns a club, so it's safe to say drinks are served there.  

{Love-y-ness}
An engagement is broken off due to the lady finding out the man is abusive.  Bit of romance and attraction between Sebastian and Lydia.

{Conclusion}
You're probably thinking this review is not near as long as my others.  I simply don't want to give anything away as this is a MYSTERY! 

Overall, it's highly likely that this is my favorite of the trilogy.  I enjoyed the story, the plot was gripping, and the characters relate-able.  While it is rather clean regarding language, there are many references to prostitutes and the lives they live.  But if you enjoy the era of the 1890s, you'll definitely enjoy this one!

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Recommended ages:  16+
My rating:

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I was provided a copy of this novel thanks to BookLookBloggers, in exchange for my honest review.

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