Book Notes-The Woman in the Library



Book cover The Woman in the Library. Pair of hands holding a partially open book.

The Woman in the Library

by Sulari Gentill
Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date June 7th

Description of The Woman in the Library

In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

My thoughts

Winifred “Freddie” Kincaid, the protagonist and point-of-view character is an Australian writer. She is in the States because she’s won a prestigious scholarship as a writer-in-residence at Carrington Square. The thesis of her upcoming work? Four strangers are united by a stranger’s scream in the Boston Public Library. She’s sitting in the library one day, trying to work on her book when she notices several people around her. She begins to give them fictional lives and writes her observations and thoughts down. The woman with the tattoos covering her arms and reading Freud is given the name “Freud Girl.” Another library patron wearing a Harvard Law sweatshirt, with broad shoulders, strong jaw, and cleft chin is dubbed “Heroic Chin.” The last person, “Handsome Man,” has dark hair and eyes, strong upswept brows, and is working on a laptop. Suddenly, a scream breaks the silence of the library, and the four strangers find themselves bound together by a stranger’s scream. They begin to investigate the mystery behind the scream, and in so doing, discover one of them is a murderer.

The fictional author writing this story about Freddie and her friends is Hannah Tigone. She is receiving letters from Leo, a fan who volunteers to be a beta reader. The letters alternate with the chapters-the letters are Leo’s response to the chapters he’s read. As the book continues, Leo’s obsession with Hannah and her work takes a dark, alarming turn with references to recent murders becoming more common. The murders in the actual book also increase, and Freddie finds it more and more difficult to discern friend from enemy.

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. The first letter from Leo threw me at first; it was a bit confusing figuring out how the characters fit into the story, but once it clicked, I was hooked. The book is full of twists, turns, and red herrings that kept me guessing until the final pages. I highly recommend this book.

Thanks to #Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a copy of #TheWomanInTheLibrary