The Woman in the Library

by Sulari Gentill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has such an interesting way of telling its story that I found it fun and exciting. What you are actually getting is two separate stories being told simultaneously. And while these are two different stories, they are related in such a fascinating way that makes them blend into one novel smoothly. While I admit at first I was a bit confused about what was happening, that went away quickly. Once it became very obvious what was happening the details were easy to keep track of.

I loved that the author could tell these two stories and keep me in suspense for both of them. I genuinely could not figure out the mystery wrapped around one of the stories, and the other had a consistently deepening feeling of dread as it progressed.

All My Thoughts

May contain spoilers.

When I started this book I was not aware that it would be two stories being told at the same time, and in such an interesting way. You are brought into a story about a writer who is gathering information and inspiration for a mystery novel she is writing. She is sucked into a murder mystery along with several other strangers at the Boston Public Library when they all hear a woman scream and later learn of her murder on the news. These events bring them together and make them a part of each other’s lives. This however is not the only story being told. After the initial setup, you find out that what you have been reading is a draft of a book that has been sent to a beta reader. Between chapters of this mystery novel, we see the feedback from this fictional author’s beta reader, but only the correspondence from him and not the emails that are sent to him. This is the second story that is being told. As we see his responses his mood and reactions begin shifting and his helpful advice starts to take an ominous turn.

I loved both of these stories. The mystery novel about the writer was genuinely suspenseful and I legitimately could not figure out the “who-dun-it” answer up to the very end. While it was mildly convoluted in order to keep us from being able to figure it out I did like how neatly it wrapped up. The massive amount of misdirection was a major plot point of the story. The characters were dynamic and served to really progress the plot.

The beta reader Leo is such a fascinating character. We learn the absolute basics about him, but it is his personality that shows in his responses to the author that are really important. As the story progresses his behavior shifts to uncomfortable and frightening territory. What really works for these sections is seeing how the book he is reading starts to affect his behavior and how the author responds to his feedback after a while within the chapters she is writing.

Both of these narratives wrap up in a satisfying way and both were difficult to predict. This made for satisfying endings to both stories.


This book was a fun meta experience that keeps the suspense turned up the entire way through. A great experience that keeps you guessing.

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