When I first picked up this book, I didn’t love it. I don’t even think I made it 20% of the way through before I sat it down, though I did force myself to finish it but I just didn’t love it.
I decided NOT to read any of the other books in the series but at the same time, I lamented the fact that I didn’t love this series. I mean it’s been everywhere and lots of people loved it but I just didn’t. But it started to bug me that I didn’t love it.
Because by all accounts I SHOULD have loved this series. I finally gave in and read some of the other later books in the series and enjoyed them much more than the first book, but at the same time felt like I had missed out on some of the larger plot points so I did decide that the time had come for me to go back and start the series again, this time to see if I liked it better than before.
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—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.
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. (summary from Goodreads)
Well I don’t know that I loved this one any more the second time around, but I am glad I went back and re-read it. The first time around I gave it one star, but this time I would say that I would probably give it 3 stars. The POV was still a little irksome this time around but I also felt that perhaps that was the point of the series overall.
I am currently on book 3 and I will say that books 2 and 3 are much much better than this one and the reason I am driven to continue with this series and have now moved it from my ‘this isn’t for me’ shelf to my ‘glad I discovered this series’ shelf. While this might not be a favorite of mine, I have come to enjoy the characters, especially Lord Ingram.
When I first read this book, the POVs didn’t allow me to get close to Charlotte at all. I felt frustrated by that fact because she is the central character of this book series. I also felt that it was hard with so many different perspectives (Treadles, Charlotte, Livia, Mrs Watson, Lord Ingram etc) that I had a hard time sorting out what was important to the narrative and what wasn’t. Charlotte felt remote and unapproachable and I didn’t have a connection to her at all, but now on reflecting on the other books in the series, I think that’s the point of this first installment, to make Charlotte appear almost robotic in nature and then watch her unfold in the other books because by book 3, I found myself enjoying her more and more!
All of the books contain multiple mysteries that seem to be unrelated to the larger narrative and this could be confusing at times as I found myself rushing to get past some of those bits, only to find that they were important later on in the story. I would say that readers should pay attention to all of this book rather than try to get back to the main story. In the end I am glad I went back and re-read this one, having read the other books I have grown to appreciate the growth that the author and the characters underwent from this one up until the latest 5th book in the series.
Book Info and Rating
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Berkley
Review copy provided by personal collection, all opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Original Rating: 1 star
Take Two Review Rating: 3 stars
Genre: historical mystery, detective novel