A review by rachelunabridged
The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill

mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!


This book kicked off in a really compelling way, but sadly, that's all it really had going for it. The plots crawled along at barely a smolder that never managed to build themselves into a burn, slow or otherwise. You may have noticed that I said "plots". It's not a typo; this story has a dual plot situation going on that, while interesting in theory, was just not executed very well, in my opinion.

There was a line in this story, around the point when I was starting to wonder if anything was going to happen in this book, that got me thinking I might have been duped by picking it up.

"We dress our stories up with murders, and discussions about morality and society, but really we just care about relationships."

It kind of speaks for itself. Basically, this book promises you a murder and mystery, but doesn't really deliver on either of those things in a satisfying way because it's more focused on the developing romance between characters.

As someone who doesn't enjoy reading romance, I didn't like being tricked into reading a romance disguised as a murder mystery. I would have been able to tolerate it if it wasn't at the expense of the rest of the plot, but it definitely was. The mystery didn't really feel fleshed out, and the solution was easy to guess, even early on in the book.
To make matters worse, for a book about relationships, the characters were okay at best. They all felt very cookie-cutter to me, and I found it hard to connect with any of them.

If you're looking for a romance novel with some peripheral mystery/murder, this might be for you. However, if you're looking for a who-dun-it that'll leave you guessing until the end, I don't think you'll find this book very satisfying.

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