I don’t think I have ever read a book that left me with such mixed emotions. The author presents a beautiful picture of how God can take broken lives from a variety of backgrounds and transform them into something of value and worth. At the same time, the author reminds us that we cannot judge a book by its cover or a man by his coat.
The story takes place in the weeks and months following the closing of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Lydia has the responsibility of running a local “Reading Room” in the Chicago community. Thus begins this mystery. I would call this a “mystery embedded in a romance” (which I find a bit uncomfortable reading), rather than a “romance embedded in a mystery” (which is more to my liking). But the four main characters have all strayed from their faith - when fate (i.e. God) brings them together.
Though Sebastian Marks is a man of mystery, the true mystery does not begin until the 50% point (using Kindle’s measurement) of the book. The death of Lydia’s ex-fiance will force each member of their small group to rethink friendships, beliefs, and behaviors. And because of this, the book is much more about relationships than about the mystery.
The book is well-written, by a skilled writer. Her ability to weave the history of the era (and forcing this reader to search Google to discover more) is always a sign of a good book. Though the author seems to confuse the three fires that destroyed the remains of the World’s Fair site over a year’s time into a single event, the story was alive and real.
Bottom line - I enjoyed the book. I wish there had been less romance, but then
i am male and thrive more on the excitement than on the romance. Would I recommend the book? Yes - for everyone, but for some more than others. If you like a mix of history, mystery, and romance, you will enjoy “Whispers in the Reading Room.”
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.