Lydia Bancroft’s world is a world of books, until a mysterious, dark-eyed man begins to frequent the reading room where she works as a librarian. He never speaks a word to her until a chance meeting puts him in the position to be her rescuer. She soon discovers that he is none other than the infamous Sebastian Marks, one of the most powerful men in Chicago.
They are both hesitant as they form a friendship, until Lydia discovers that Mr. Marks runs a club with illegal gambling. She insists that he bring her to the club, and things take a turn for the worse when someone is murdered.
Lydia must decide if she can truly trust Sebastian, and he must decide if Lydia can remain in his life.
Getting the negative out of the way, the writing is sometimes lacking, technically. It occurs mostly in the show-don’t-tell sense. In some instances, we are definitely being told. We also get a lot of backstory through flashbacks, pulling the reader out of the present timeline for a while. It was these moments that prevented me from getting truly lost in this book.
That being said, the story itself was really good, and made it hard for me to put the book down. The characters were well written, and I enjoyed their interactions with each other, including the supporting cast. The characters are flawed. Some of them (most of them) are criminals. It is, after all, Chicago after the World’s Fair.
Seeing as this is a Christian novel, some people may find some of the content objectionable. There is violence, though not graphic, and mentions of prostitution which is mostly acknowledgement of its existence. But there is a Christian message here if you are willing to see it. It’s redemption. The characters speak of God occasionally, but I think the lesson to take away from this novel is that, for those who have gone astray, the road to redemption can be very dark. And sometimes the road is darkest just before the redemption.
This novel is the third in Gray’s Chicago World’s Fair series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. If you’re looking for a quick read with a hint romance and mystery, this novel is worth your time.
1) Overall Plot =4.5
2) Characters = 4.5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 4.5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 4
Average of score 4.5 out of 5