Whispers in the Reading Room (The Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series) By Shelley Shepard Gray is another historical piece. I am on a roll lately with these historical pieces 😉 that’s two in one day! So, what drew me in to force myself to get through another historical fiction piece of work? Well, this one was all about a librarian who finds herself intrigued with the dark and mysterious man who catches her eye. Given the description, he’d probably catch my eye, too. 😉
The story takes place after the closing of the Chicago World’s Fair. For those who are unfamiliar, the gates open on May 1, 1893 and remained opened for six months. The original name was World’s Colombian Exposition and more that 26 million visitors passed through its gates. The fair was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. While there are many facts regarding this historical event, the ones which stand out are the serial killer who went on a killing spree during this time and there was also a political assassin during this time.
Despite not being much of a historian, I tend to recall stories of this particular exposition because of my true crime fascination. (Wait, didn’t she just say on her previous post that she was obsessed with all this Holocaust related and now she’s talking about true crime? Oh yes, I’m a bit on the dark and dreary meter 😉 )
Knowing the history behind the real life events, it puts this book into a different perspective. Here you have these two paths who have crossed, and yet, there is a whole world moving along right beside them. While some of these things are hinted on within the pages of this novel, many others are of the authors own imagination and only heighten the fascination with the story.
There is definitely a bit of that wealthy bad boy romance going on, but don’t worry, this isn’t another “Fifty Shades of Grey.” This is another book which is shelved in the Christian Fiction so the romance, while there, isn’t the main theme of the story and it is very tame.
I enjoyed this book so much that I have added the two previous books in the series to my read list. It should be noted, that this can be read as a stand alone novel. You do not need to read the previous two. The previous two stories are different characters and events which also happen during the Chicago World’s Fair.
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.
About the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail. Find Shelley on her website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com, on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray, and on Twitter @ShelleySGray.
I have never really been much of a historical fiction fan, but these last few books I have read are really opening my eyes to how great the genre really can be.
Have you ever stepped outside of your normal reading genre to be surprised at what you found? I’d love to hear about it.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher to facilitate my review. I am not being compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
That sounds like such a great read! I love books like this with unlikely heroes. Thanks!
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
That sounds like an awesome book. I think my hubby would like this one.
I NEED a book to read on the plane in a few weeks. I will check this one out. I love mystery books!
Mary Edwards says
Yes, a tame romance novel sounds perfect. With a little crime thrown in. And mystery. Sounds like a great book.
Travel Blogger says
I love historical novels! I will have to check this out. It sounds so good. I love lots of suspense.
Heather lawrence says
Mystery books are my favourite. I just Love getting lost in a great “Who done it” book. Will have to snag this one when I am at the store tonight.
I want to check this book series out! I love to read different genres and this sounds awesome.
Heather Pfingsten says
I’m an avid reader and I love historical fiction. The last few books I read were YA, to help a few author friends, and this may be just what I need to bounce into a new genre. Thank you for sharing your perspective!
Miles L. says
I am also into mystery books. They synopsis and description sound really interesting. I’d love to give this a try.
Ann Bacciaglia says
I just finished my book i was reading. This sounds like a great selection for my next read. I will have to check it out.
Eileen Mendoza Loya says
Interesting book. I am open to all sorts of literary genre and I think this would be a great read. Thanks for letting us know about it.
Rebecca Swenor says
Okay now I will have to read this one and possibly the others too. You have me very interested in these books now. Thanks for sharing the great review.
Such an awesome book. I want to add this on my reading list and i think it was a suspense.
This definitely isn’t the type of book I’d normally read, but it sounds like an awesome find! Adding to my reading list for sure.
It seems that everytime I get a book I didn’t think was my type I end up reading it in a few hours and wanting more. I need to do that more!
Chubskulit Rose says
This sounds like a great book to read. My daughter is into reading and she’s been asking if she can read some of the books I have collected over the years when I still used to read. I have to reread some because some of it is not appropriate for her age yet.
This sounds like a really great book. I love reading mysteries especially when they have some real history.
This sounds like a great book. I like reading mystery series from time to time.
Kelli @ 3 Boys and a Dog says
This will be going on the reading List for sure! It’s wonderful getting caught up in historical pieces! Thank you for sharing the review!
Jaime Nicole says
This sounds like one that you enjoyed. It is always fun to find a book that you can sink your teeth into – I am on the hunt for one for sure.
Wow, this is interesting! I didn’t know Chicago had a World’s Great Fair! I love books with a historical background!
Fort Worth Fitness blog says
This sounds like a great read. I need a new book to read. I’ll have to add it to my list. Thank you for sharing.
I love a good book recommendation and sounds just like a book I would love!! Thanks for this!!
Ron Leyba says
This looks like a truly great book. Love to read something like this.
Cara (@StylishGeek) says
I have to admit that historical novels aren’t really my favorite genre to read, but thanks for your review of this book anyway! 🙂
Life as a Convert says
This sounds like a fun read. I am always adding new books to my goodreads account.
I have never liked historical fiction, but I LOVE reading! I read Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard and I really liked it!! This looks interesting as well!
Ooo this definitely sounds like an interesting read!!!! I need a new book super bad. Might just have to Check this one out!