The Woman in the Library offers two of my favorite things to read about- a book about books and the writing process.
It’s an interesting read with a good idea but it just didn’t work for me in the end. But if you are interested in books about books or meta mystery writing well I’d check it out anyway.
There are two separate things going on in The Woman in the Library. First is a fictional manuscript about Winifred an Australian author in Boston on a writing grant. She hears a scream in the Boston Public Library that unites her with 3 other patrons. Later a body is found and they begin investigating what happened after a series of events that makes Winifred think it is related to one of them.
Which naturally of course she starts writing in her own manuscript.
At the end of each chapter we get a letter to the author from one of her beta readers and let’s just say those letters start wracking up some tension.
On the one hand the mystery involving the library… I didn’t hate it but there were a lot of little things that didn’t make sense I couldn’t wrap my mind around so reading it I was like okay, this is supposed to be a rough draft I’ll let it go.
Plus it involved a mystery thing I happen to hate where one character falls in love with the suspect and sense just goes right out the window.
And then the letters?
They did hit a nicely creepy note. That being said with one exception we don’t really get any insight into the author (Hannah) whose receiving the letters. There’s a warning that’s issued by letter (or e-mail but in this case it’s the same thing to me I was like wouldn’t they call?) and the wrap-up happens well off-screen and is talked about in you guessed it another letter after the fact.
So it’s weird because I obviously had a lot of issues with this but I kept reading and I do genuinely like the idea. The character work was really strong which is perhaps the real strength of the book and the author even if neither part really came together for me.
Recommend: Actually, yes.
Like I said despite my problems with it I was still intrigued throughout and if you like the idea or you like books about writing mixed in with mysteries well you might really enjoy The Woman in the Library.