Review by Sean Smith, Head of Adult Services at the Topsfield Town Library
After growing up in Boston and spending countless days at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, I was excited to get my hands on Sulari Gentill’s The Woman in the Library. It is actually two dueling narratives at the same time:
- One thread follows Hannah, an Australian fiction writer, who is submitting copies of her transcript to an American pen-pal named Leo;
- The other is the story being written by Hannah, starring Freddie Kincaid, who is an Australian fiction writer herself living in Boston while writing her newest book. She is bonded to a group of three other strangers by a scream in Bates Hall of the Boston Public Library.
At first, I thought that the story was moving a bit slowly; there didn’t seem to be a good reason to connect all four characters together in Freddie’s plot, while Hannah’s story seemed to be a strange distraction. But about halfway through, this book cranks into high gear and both plots create an incredibly engaging story. It is, so far, my favorite book of the summer and I cannot recommend it enough!