The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

The Woman in the Library is a story within a story within another story. It should have been one I loved, but I was never fully invested in it.


Four strangers are sitting in the Boston Public Library when they hear a shrill scream. The scream ends up bringing these four twenty to thirty-somethings together. When they learn that a body was found shortly after the shriek of terror, they all inadvertently became entangled in the case. This encounter inspires Freddie, the protagonist, for the novel she is currently writing.

That is the basis for Hannah Tigone’s story. While writing her story, she exchanges emails with a super fan named Leo, who eagerly gives her advice about her characters and plot lines. The reader never sees what Hannah writes to Leo, only what Leo writes back. Over time, Hannah’s story and Leo’s emails take on a darker tone.

Review of The Woman in the Library

Usually, I enjoy a story within a story, but in this case, I found it distracting. To me, Leo’s emails didn’t add much to the narrative. It’s hard to say anything without getting into spoiler territory.

Gentill has some opinions on writing about the current pandemic in contemporary stories. However, I think her views were more clearly expressed in the author’s note than it was in the context of the story. But, in the narrative, these views pulled my attention away from the central plot.

I did like the progression of character development. At first, the characters seemed like shells named Heroic Chin and Freud Girl, etc., but their personalities became more defined as the novel continued.

This novel is a quick read as the chapters are fairly short.

There are many other rave reviews, so don’t let my review sway you away from giving it a try.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️.5

Expected Publication: 07 June 2022

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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For past reviews, click here.

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