My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing
Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye... and perhaps her heart.
Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.
Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.
Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be.
Loved it! This book is so well-written with it's subtle peeling back of the layers of the plot. There is a sense of mystery from the beginning that kept me fully engaged. The setting is wonderful- I absolutely love libraries! The depiction of Chicago at the turn of the century is also subtle, the author avoids making it a cliche or caricature of the city. Lydia feels that she is plain and on the fringes of society, but accepts who she is as a person and embraces her interests. One of the things that is so appealing about Sebastian as a hero is that he saw beauty in her where others did not. I was enthralled with the contrasts of Lydia and Sebastian's worlds and how they overlap. Themes of self-worth and self-sacrifice are ones found in several characters as they learn to reevaluate their standing in society and see themselves through God's eyes. Highly recommend!
(Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
About the Author
Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), "The Protector," recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.