Saturday, January 14, 2017

#Saturday Review - A Study in Scarlet Women by @sherrythomas #Mystery #Historical @BerkleyRomance

Series: Lady Sherlock # 1
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Mystery, Historical

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old, but in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.
Story Locale: Victorian England
Series Overview: Charlotte Holmes investigates crimes in Victorian-era London with the help of a female benefactor and a handsome gentleman in this exciting new series from a USA Today bestselling author.

A Study in Scarlet Women is the first installment in author Sherry Thomas' Lady Sherlock series. Thomas, best known for The Elemental trilogy, returns with her take on Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, a Sherlock Holmes tale. Thomas's version is a gender-bender twist of a novel that features 25 year old Charlotte Holmes as the reclusive, yet extraordinarily brilliant Sherlock Holmes. 

Charlotte is a character after my own heart. She loves food. She adores food actually. Plum cake being her favorite food. Charlotte is also a woman ahead of her time. She doesn't play the societal role that woman are expected to. She doesn't gladly and willingly take up sewing, and tea parties while men cavort all over town. Charlotte has no desire to get married either. The fact that she has turned down every single offer while her older sister struggles to get even one. There is one particular man who she would have said yes to, probably, but that is for another time.

After a dare I say slow start? Things get rather interesting after the first third of this story. After being lied to yet again by her family, Charlotte takes matters into her own hands which leads to a whole lot of pain and suffering and being cast out of societies good graces. She struggles to find a place to live, food to put on her table, and a job to pay the bills. But, after hearing about the death of a man in Devonshire, and back to back deaths of women who have had direct contact with Charlotte's own family, including one who witnessed Charlotte's own acts of disrepute, Charlotte gets a second chance at making something of her life. 

Thanks to the help of an older woman coincidentally named Mrs. Watson, Charlotte decides to pick up the name Sherlock Holmes. She writes & makes observations to Inspector Robert Treadles of the Metropolitan Police who works alongside one Sir Ingram Ashburton who Charlotte has prior understanding with. Charlotte's strange, yet her impressive mind isn't the only thing that I liked about this story. It was also the secondary characters like Treadles, Ingram, Livia, and even Treadles wife Alice. 

The story itself is written in the third person narrative and twists between Charlotte, Livia, & Treadles POV. This gave the story more depth, and allowed both Livia, who is considered a spinster in society at 27, and Treadles who puts more time into solving the three murders than anyone else. There is a hint of romance, but nothing too spectacular. After all, Charlotte knows how to play the game, and the game is now hers to win or lose.

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