Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series
SUMMARY: 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-eyes 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.
REVIEW: Everything is not always what it seems or looks like. Appearances and actions can be deceiving. Lydia is believed to be a wealthy debutante, but in reality her father's death left her and her mother penniless and destitute. Sebastian looks to be the finest of gentlemen, well educated and refined but he was raised on the wrong side of the tracks and learned everything he knows from reading anything and everything he can.
I like how Lydia doesn't accept society's "norms" and kinda does what she wants. She wears her glasses all the time, when society thought such practice was very unacceptable and frowned upon. When she realizes her fiance Jason has a very bad temper and he hurts her in public, Lydia does not sit back and take it but refuses to marry him. She is willing to do what it takes to make sure her mother is taken care of and feels secure.
Sebastian struggles with getting close to anyone, even Vincent and Bridget, who work closest to him constantly. I like how they stick by him and support him when it looks like Sebastian is being arrested. Bridget risks her life to help Sebastian when he is followed into a bad part of town by a disreputable and dangerous man.
This was an engrossing book, capturing my attention at the beginning and keeping it until the very end. Even though it is the third book in this series, I did not feel like I was missing anything since I had not read the first two. The story flowed seamlessly. It is one I would highly recommend.
This book was provided by The Fiction Guild for review without compensation.
Shelley Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers' prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. She also spends a lot of time online. Please visit her website at www.shelleyshepardgray.com. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray.