I have really enjoyed this series by Shelley Gray. The setting in and around the Chicago World’s Fair is always so interesting, there’s always mystery and suspense and of course Gray’s ability to keep you intrigued.
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.
Overall I enjoyed this story. Unlike her last two there was a different vibe with the characters. They weren’t exactly what I was expecting, especially Sebastian. He was a character that wasn’t your normal lead. Yeesh, I really want to give specifics, but I’m not a book hater or story ruiner (Microsoft is telling me that’s not a word, but I like to live on the edge), so I’ll just say he wasn’t like most “heroes” I read in CBA. Right after finishing the book, I wasn’t sure what I thought, but as I type this I’ve decided I like what Gray did. It’s different and realistic (especially as you find out more of his background). Also, can we get a novella of 10 years later? I’d love a “where are they now” for all the characters. Thanks!
I liked Lydia too (although sidenote about the cover design: she wore glasses and I really wish the model on the cover had spectacles. I felt they were an important piece to her character). How can you not like a character who loves books as much as we do? I felt for her circumstances and Gray did a good job showing why she was so intrigued by someone like Sebastian.
While this wasn’t my favorite in the series, I liked seeing two unlikely people form a friendship through circumstances they never planned on. Oh and I also liked seeing a familiar face from the second novel in his role as a cop.
If you’ve read this, I’d love to hear what you think about it, especially Sebastian! What was the last book you read where characters turned out much different than you expected?
(Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)