A Study In Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

A Study In Scarlet Women

Sherry Thomas

Charlotte Holmes takes us on an adventure under the assumed name, Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society's expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

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An NPR Best Book of 2016

USA Today
bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…

 
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.


Advance Galley Reviews

Loved this book! I never knew what I was really getting into with the book but this was a great pick!

I was surprised to find a bunch of negative reviews of this book on Goodreads, but I think it's the expectations: you really like Thomas's romances, you're a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, you expect the main character to break all the gender boundaries...This book won't satisfy those desires. I would suggest it more to fans of skewed Holmes storylines (such as Elementary) or cozy mysteries. Perhaps the most intriguing thing to me is that Charlotte Holmes on her own does not embody all of Sherlock's attributes. Rather, she is a character you might expect to find somewhere else who also happens to have a brilliant mind, and other characters supply some of the other characteristics. It was also fascinating that Thomas gave Charlotte a physical vice in food (instead of drugs)--something that would fit but not overshadow the story. Anyway, I really enjoyed this foray into a new Holmes series and am looking forward to the next one!

I have read a total of three books written by Sherry Thomas, and The Elemental trilogy is one of my favorites. So, you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to read her upcoming release, A Study in Scarlet Women. With a woman as Sherlock Holms + a perplexing mystery—A Study in Scarlet Women seemed to have all the right elements. I was really looking forward to this book. What I liked most was the idea behind the story, and at first, everything seemed pretty great. While the beginning was just alright, once the mystery was introduced, I found it easier to get into the story. As I mentioned above, I am familiar with books by Sherry Thomas, and I’ve always liked her style of writing. That’s one thing I do have to give A Study in Scarlet Women, the writing was a fantastic piece of work. As such, the bulk of the book was good. However, I had some trouble with it at the end. After that, I couldn’t find any motivation to continue on, even though I was only a couple of pages away from finishing the book. That part just kind of ruined it for me, which just sucked since otherwise A Study in Scarlet Women was an okay book. Will I read anything else by Sherry Thomas? Well, who knows—that’s all I can say for now.

This book was an absolute delight! Very rarely does a book make me busy out laughing to the point of tears. Even more rare is for a retelling to stay so close to Canon and stray so far all without appearing to take the original author's words in vain. This book drops us literally in the midst of a scandal as old as time and manages to catapult the main character to new heights. Charlotte Holmes is quirky, opinionated and smart as a whip when it comes to the obscure, yet struggles with social norms, having polite conversations about mundane topics and the concept of emotions. Just like some have theorized that Sherlock Holmes may have been constructed to display Asperger's so also does his female equivalent in this story. Charlotte impersonates Sherlock to earn her own money with the help of none other than John Watson's widow. Even the title of this story mimics the introductory story where Conan Doyle introduced the world to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. I found the multiple storylines of the scandal, Charlotte and her family, her clients and their tales of woe and of course murder to be mingled together perfectly. Even Detevice Treadles and his consulting with Holmes similar to Lestrade is on point to an extent. I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters. Charlotte does have a family that plays more than a "from the wings" part and she does appear to have at least a passing resemblance of acquaintances who also appear throughout the story. The gender flip was well done and even those who are gender male in the story have a more than passing respect for Charlotte and her mind. I cannot wait to own this in a tangible copy, nor can I hardly wait a whole year for the second in the series.

I'm a stickler for Sherlock Holmes retellings, so when I received this book, I was skeptical. But you know what? While it's not going to make it into any alternative canon, it's just good fun. Rethinking Holmes and Watson as women gives the author lots to play with, and I've got to admit, this was a great beachy read for me. Is it as good as some of the short story anthologies (compiled by Leslie Klinger) that have come out in recent years? No, and not really very close. But does it tell a rollicking story that makes us rethink the characters we love just a little bit? Sure. I'd recommend it to any Holmes fan looking for a palate cleanser or just a fun alternative read to the original stories.

Great new take on Sherlock Holmes!! Very interesting and exciting to read! The characters are well-thought out and the case is very cleverly written with quite a few twists and turns to keep the reader guessing! Can't wait for the next book in this charming new series!

I loved that the author chose to change Sherlock and Watson to women. I read a lot of historical fiction and I loved the time period and setting of the novel, but it pretty much had to since it is Sherlock Holmes. I can't really say exactly what it was, but I found myself easily distracted while reading this book. It was well written, but it just didn't keep my attention. I guess I thought maybe the author would add something fresh to the typical Holmes format to spice it up, to put her spin on it and make it unpredictable for the reader. I really wanted to be pulled in, but sadly it wasn't meant to be. I appreciate the chance to read this book and offer my honest opinion. Thank you.

This author gives us the first volume of a gender-switcheroo on the Sherlock Holmes legend. Holmes is a young woman, who fell from society's grace as a teenager, is an embarrassment to her family and is shunned by the locals. In her twenties, she teams up with Watson, an older woman of even sketchier reputation and a Scotland Yard Inspector, Treadles (a anagram of Lestrade), to solve a mystery involving the poisoning of three seemingly unrelated individuals. At the end of the tale, the name Moriarty is mentioned in passing, leaving us with a new character for the next installment. The concept is fun and I thank the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy.

I found this book rather slow, and not especially engaging. I enjoy historical fiction, and the time period was intriguing to me. Also the inquiring into gender roles was interesting. Unfortunately, this novel fell flat.

I found it a little hard to get into and the trope predictable .. I love that it took place in the Victorian times and the strong women that Charlotte is ends up assuming the name of Sherlock Holmes . But it didn't go anywhere more powerful then that

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so I had high hopes for this novel. Honestly, I was let down. The characters were predictable and bland. The story was slow, not at all exiting. It became boring by chapter four and a struggle to get through. The writing attempts to mimic Doyle to a degree, but misses the mark due to story concept.The dialogue between Characters gave the impression that they were reading from a script - poorly. Had the book been written from one solid perspective, with more colorful characters - I feel it would have better served the homage Doyle while being unique.

This book is... fine. The mystery isn't well done and the characters are pretty much tropes or plot moppets but I kept reading it anyway. I liked the idea and kept hoping it would go farther but it really just didn't wow me. There's some really blatant discussion of sexism which was interesting but didn't really go much of anywhere or change anything. No one has much of a background, any info you get about people is told (typically in a very unsubtle way) and it all plods along. Some characters were clearly added just to tell you more about what's happening without adding any value.

This book was an extremely enjoyable read and a lot of fun. Charlotte Holmes is an independent, intelligent and resourceful individual who unfortunately is living in a time period where women really aren't supposed to be any of that. She comes from a family of four girls, and since she has no desire to marry and become a prim and proper lady of society, her sisters and parents constantly worry about what will become of her. At the age of 18, Charlotte makes a deal with her father that if she hasn't met a respectable man and fallen in love by the age of 25, he will pay for her to get an education so she can become a head mistress. Her father agrees, yet he doesn't fall through, which doesn't really surprise Charlotte or her sister and best friend, Livia. Charlotte is angered and devises a plan to blackmail him into paying, but the plan doesn't work well and she ends up being the ridicule of the town. So instead of being banished to the cottage in the country where she can no longer embarrass her family, she leaves home to make her own way. Charlotte has always had a knack for being able to "read" people, deduce facts and solve problems, so by using these talents, she slowly morphs into "Sherlock" Holmes and starts the path to supporting herself and becoming a famous figure along the way. It was such a great idea for Thomas to portray Holmes as a female who because of stereotypes and the time period, has to create an alter-ego in order to do what she does best and make a living for herself on her own. Charlotte is a great character and although I questioned a few of her choices along the way, she has such a pizzazz that I almost immediately liked her. Charlotte really doesn't care what people think of her and all she wants to do is be able to take care of herself and her two younger sisters, once who is mentally ill, and one who has yet to find a proper suitor, without the help of family. Along the way, Charlotte meets Mrs. Watson and as they say "the rest is history." There are a lot of great characters in the book and at the heart of it is a rather convoluted mystery. The book really kept me guessing to the end and I have to confess, "A Study in Scarlet Women" is chocked full of people who aren't quite what they seem to be. The only real complaint I have with the book is the massive amount of characters that are introduced before the story and mystery begin to form which made it hard for me to quickly catch on. However, I feel some of this can be credited to the novel being the first in the series and the fact that Thomas has to create a lot of backstory and history in order for everything to come together for the reader. I am finding that I am quickly developing a love for historical mysteries. I've read several great ones this year and "A Study in Scarlet Women" is definitely one of them. I know there will probably be quite a long wait until the next installment is released, but I am already to find out what happens next for "Sherlock" and Mrs. Watson.

This was a wonderful reworking of the famous Sherlock Holmes character, and everything that comes with that world. I really enjoyed this different viewpoint of the famed Holmes, Watson, etc. I also liked the twists and turns that were included and the additional characters, which really rounds out the story. I do think the romance part was partially pushed in there, because this is a "women's" novel. However, I do like a little love interest here and there! (The author knows her genre very well.) I could picture the scenes, the sights, the interactions. I would love this to be a TV show or movie, if Sherlock hadn't been bombarded in those media already. So, here this wonderful story stays, ink on paper. I cannot wait for the subsequent books in the Lady Sherlock series.

This is an excellent addition to Sherlock stories. I love that Sherlock (Charlotte) is a lady and kicks butt with her mind, even if she has to pose as a man, since you know... women can't do anything. The cases are intriguing and with the adage of Mrs. Watson, it makes the story fun and adventurous. If you like Old England, women power, and skilled deduction, this book is for you!

I loved this version of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Why can't women be strong minded and be able to solve crimes. To me it is always laughable the way men thought women couldn't do anything that taxed their minds or their bodies. Charlotte has an amazing observational skill and is all about the details. It's interesting what she goes through to make people think that Sherlock is her brother. I liked Mrs. Watson and her "scandalous" as an actress. She seems just as cunning as Charlotte. For Charlotte to run away and try to live on her own when women should really always be escorted was such a scandal. Very well written and the characters were very enjoyable. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

What a wonderful reworking of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. I loved every bit of this story and can't wait for the next installment. In this re-boot, Charlotte Holmes, with her amazing observational skills, incites a social expulsion sufficient to release her from familial and tribal obligations. Unfortunately, she learns she has no ability to earn a practical living and no references. She creates an imaginary brother, Sherlock, to assist Scotland Yard and take on private cases. She has the assistance of one former suitor and dear friend who knows the truth about Sherlock; by the end of the book, so does the police inspector. This wonderful book doesn't just provide one large mystery tale. It establishes the background and provides numerous mini-mysteries as Charlotte/Sherlock creates her skill set and fame. So there is much to enjoy about the book, especially for fans of Sherlock Holmes. There is a decidedly feminist cast to the tale, but it adds to the fun. This is one great start to a new series I am very excited to have started.

I loved the idea of a gender-bent Sherlock but sadly I wasn't all that impressed with this book. The beginning was quite slow and the POV switches kept causing me to lose interest. I can't say I was a huge fan of Charlotte's. She felt more like a secondary character to me and considering the book was supposed to be about her becoming Sherlock Holmes I was hoping to see a bit more action on her part. Instead much of the investigating was done by another and Inspector Treadles' investigation was a bit boring. I did really like Mrs. Watson, Livia and Lord Ingram though. Overall, A Study in Scarlet Women serves as a pretty good introduction to a new series and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes!

Unfortunately this book was not to my liking. I couldn't get past the first chapter, set the book down and cannot see myself picking it back up again. I found the book to be slow moving and rather dull.

A slow, methodical, Victorian mystery full of many characters-all who seemed to be related by the way! I stuck with it and I am happy that I did. I must admit that I am not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so I don't know much about the characters. I enjoyed this spin on having Mr. Holmes be Ms. Holmes, especially in an era where woman did not do much outside of their homes or without their father's approval. Charlotte Holmes is pushing the limits by posing as a man and solving crimes to help the police and help her bank account balance. She is brought into a mystery involving the death of 3 people-could it be a serial killer-are these murders linked? With the help of a local police detective, a very well-off friend, and her new employer Charlotte pieces together the mystery. This one takes a bit of time to get into. Lots going on, lots of characters and a writing style that takes a while to get used too. I did end up enjoying Charlotte and her friends and will continue with this series.

This book was a surprising joy. I don't always enjoy mysteries and I do not always enjoy re-tellings. The story starts by throwing you right into Charlotte Holmes being embroiled in a scandal. Charlotte, the youngest of 4 daughters, is eccentric and wants freedom from domestic life and the ability to use her mind. The description of her quirks drew a picture of a woman with Asperger's. Even more interesting, her older sister, Bernadine had never spoken and like spinning things. These touches added depth and interest to the story. Charlotte poses as Sherlock Holmes to generate income. The book is told in the 3rd person and goes through Charlotte, Lord Ingram, and a police detective trying to solve three mysterious deaths over a short period. In telling the story, the book addresses how women were treated back in the 19th century, as well as the stifling aspect of life in society. I look forward to reading more in the series.

I have always loved Sherlock Holmes, from the original books, that I would read as a child, to the many different movies, television series and even video games. When I saw this book, the first in a series about a female version of Sherlock, I just had to read it! The story is set in Victorian England and our main character, Charlotte Holmes, has decided to remove herself from society by getting caught in bed with a married man who is notorious for having affairs. She has other dreams, dreams that do not involve being forced to marry and become a housewife. When her father and sister are suspected of murder, Charlotte sets out on her own and puts her skills to work to solve the mystery and free her family from suspicion. Because she is female, she is unable to work on cases directly so she creates, Sherlock Holmes, and through him she is able to help solve mysteries. The story is told in various POVs and hops back and forth between them. I didn't care as much for the inspector's POV, he was a bit bland in comparison to Charlotte. Lord Ingram, Charlotte's possible love interest and her sister, Olivia, were both interesting characters. I also enjoyed Mrs. Watson's character, the lovable, older lady who helps Charlotte put her extraordinary skills to work. I wouldn't recommend jumping into this book with the hopes of seeing an exact replica of Sherlock, only in female form. Charlotte just isn't there quite yet. Charlotte is less a female version of Sherlock and more along the lines of a not too distant relative. Maybe a niece or a granddaughter. She has deductive skills and reasoning similar to Sherlock, but personality-wise, she is her own character. She makes small mistakes that the original Sherlock would not make. At one point she is robbed by a child. Such an obvious ploy would never have escaped Sherlock's notice, however, I owe mistakes like that to Charlotte's youth and inexperience. This is only the first book in the series and I feel that there is plenty of character development to come. Charlotte has a lot of potential and I would love to see more challenges, higher stakes and watch as she hones her skills to become the great, Sherlock Holmes. I look forward to the next book in this series.

An interesting take on a traditional Sherlock Holmes. Unique story lines and intrequing characters. I would recommend this book :-)

I really enjoyed the premise of Holmes being a woman, however I thought the case was greatly expounded on and overwritten. The presence of so many characters made the story hard to follow at times and drew away from the mystery. I struggled to finish the book because of the unnecessary characters that abounded.

I am a huge fan of all things Sherlock. I have a special shelf labeled "Derivatives of the Great Detective" where I put new takes on the classic, like this one. This was a most enjoyable read. I have never read anything by Sherry Thomas before, and understand that she usually writes romance novels and young adult fantasy. I was curious about what the content of this book would be like, given the cover images for her romance novels, but I'm pleased to say Thomas wrote a tremendous historical fiction book without a single explicit scene. For anyone concerned about content, the story centers around a "fallen" young woman, Charlotte Holmes, who solicits a man to assist her in ruining her prospects for marriage. In one of the opening scenes, we are told that a small army of matrons storm in and catch Charlotte "in the act" and that things are fully underway, but no explicit details are given. And past that, there are a few kisses, but most of Charlotte's struggle with romance revolves around the head and heart pleasure and pain of loving someone she cannot have. The book eventually deals with some fairly sensitive material, but again, no explicit details are given whatsoever, and the subject matter is dealt with in a vague manner. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I love the fact that Sherlock is actually a woman, and the mystery is very twisty and the plot full of surprises. Charlotte's character was very well-developed, but I wish Lord Ingram's character had been more developed. I love his attitude toward Charlotte. He knows the truth and seems to enjoy watching other people try to deal with Charlotte. My only issues with the book were that I never got to find out how Charlotte got started being Sherlock. The story just kind of jumps in the middle of things with the implication that she has been consulting with the police as Sherlock for awhile. I think it had to be a really interesting set of events that led her to create Sherlock in the first place, and to then insert him into assisting the police. I was really sad that I never got the full back story. We are also kind of thrown in to Charlotte's complicated friendship with Lord Ingram. We get some back story on them, but I wish there were more. I'm almost hoping there would be a prequel at some point. Lastly, I had to work at keeping all the characters straight - I kept getting confused because three of the main families in the book had surnames that started with the same letter - Shrewsberry, Sheridan, and Sackville. And there was Lady Shrewsberry, Ms. Shrewsberry, Lord Sheridan Lady Sheridan, etc. and sometimes people were referred to by first names, which really got me confused, because true to Victorian times, people rarely called each other by first names, so I had to think back to match them up. Toward the end as things all came together, I really had to focus to keep everyone straight. And the mystery was twisty-tangly enough that I'm still not sure I followed all of it. Still a great read though, and a set up for a promising series. I'm looking forward to reading more.

A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is a vastly re-imagined version of Sherlock Holmes. In this case, Sherlock is actually Charlotte Holmes, the youngest daughter of a gentleman and is wife. She is something of a favorite of her father in that he is amused by her eccentricities but not enough of a favorite that he feels obligated to keep his word to her. Having expressed her desire to never marry, he agreed to send her to school and finance her quest to become a school mistress when she turned 25. However, when that date came, he reneged and left Charlotte to do something outrageous to take herself off the marriage market. She is caught in flagrante delicto with a married man which ruins her reputation and would have caused her parents to send her away to their country home if she hadn't decided to run away first. Previously, to relieve some of her boredom and to exercise her talents and high intelligence, Charlotte had worked through a friend to offer the police insights on certain crimes. Her friend is Lord Ingram Ashburton who happens to be the only man she has ever kissed. Unfortunately, he has entered into a society marriage and is the father of two young children. Even though he and his wife are living a sham of a marriage, his morals don't allow for him to take Charlotte as his mistress which she would like. They have developed a strong friendship though. When she runs away to London, he keeps an eye on her and engineers a meeting with a former member of the demimonde, actress and widow Mrs. John Watson. Mrs. Watson takes Charlotte in as a companion and encourages her to set herself up as a consulting detective. There are three interconnected crimes that she is working on. The first is the suspicious death of a man who lived a reclusive life but who was connected to society, the second is of another young woman who was also a member of society, and the third was the death of the mother of the young married man who compromised Charlotte. The cases are nicely tricky and provide quite a challenge for Charlotte. There are many parallels to the original Sherlock Holmes stories with Charlotte as Sherlock, Mrs. Watson playing Dr. Watson as a companion and sounding board. There is even a Mycroft Holmes equivalent in Lord Ingram's older brother Lord Bancroft. The police contact is Inspector Robert Treadles of the Metropolitan Police. What I found particularly interesting was the way the author managed to infuse each of the characters with beliefs of the day and make them each - with the exception of the shadowy Lord Bancroft - well-rounded and fully developed people. This story is firmly set in Victorian England and the characters really act as Victorians. This was a page turner of a mystery for me. I wanted to know who committed the crimes and why. I also wanted to know that Charlotte would finally find a place for herself that let her use her talents to the fullest. I hope that Charlotte has many further adventures.

I got this book thanks to Penguins Early Reader Program. All right, so lets start off with what I liked. I liked Charlotte and her sister. I loved the idea of their relationship being so close, probably because I never had a sister, but if I had, I'd want the idea of it being like theirs. I loved loved loved Mrs. Watson. I don't think there is a better character than hers. She's smart, her head and her heart are in the right place. I love the picture she paints. What I disliked... I disliked that some things Charlotte failed to notice while other things she magically understood out of no where. I disliked that she could easily explain her observations, but it was only as a convenience for the story to move along. Same with her failing to notice things, it was just a mechanism to carry the story line along. I hated that there were so many characters. Obviously it's to set up a series of another book, but by the end I really didn't care why two of three victims died. I'm not even sure I quite understand why they died either.. was it murder or suicide. I hated Mr. Sackville's crime. It was as if the author said to herself... I need people to hate him, what the worse thing I can think of... it just kind of comes out of no where. I felt Charlotte's need to prove her mind was contrived and silly. I couldn't help but roll my eyes every time it was mentioned that shed go off into the room and pretend to speak with her brother Sherlock. Felt like such a big production, too over the top. However, it wasn't really to the end that I started to wish for it to be over. The characters and the setup are all pretty good and when the next book comes out I will probably read it.

I truly enjoyed this book. The author did a wonderful job of creating the character of Charlotte and dropping the reader into her story. This book was fun to read, and I cannot wait for the further adventures of Charlotte and her group of friends, family, and associates. The author puts the reader right into the story from the beginning, and although it is up to the reader to figure a few things out and make some connections, it never feels as though crucial information is missing or being withheld. The reader is left with a desire to keep on going to uncover the secrets that are being revealed. The author also does a very good job of describing Charlotte and the personality traits that make her unique without making Charlotte seem wooden or unsympathetic. She was relatable and her actions felt true. She had rooting value. I appreciated that. At the same time, the author was letting the mystery that Charlotte and others were trying to sole develop and unfold. The pacing was very good, and I enjoyed following along as the characters searched for clues. This was easily the best Victorian-era mystery I have read in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The little reveal at the very end of the book really piqued my interest for the next installment in Charlotte's career as Sherlock Holmes. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a different take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, and to anyone looking for a well-written, engaging, and fun-to-read mystery.

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Miss Holmes and Mrs Watson.....who would have ever thought that women had the smarts back then to be leading crime investigators.....this author, that's who. Interesting book!

4.5* I just finished A Study In Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas and I loved it! It’s not what I’m used to from her, but it still has her incredible, distinctive writing style. She can make me read anything, even Young Adult[GASP!] This is the 1st book in a series where Sherry asks “What if Sherlock Holmes was actually a woman?”. Charlotte Holmes is a young woman who sees the world differently. Unfortunately this doesn’t work so well with Society. She learns to mimic and adapt, but at the same time still keeps her individuality. The story starts with an suicide, but unfortunately all isn’t what it looks like. I liked the characters, and as the story progresses and Ms Thomas shared more about them I also understood why they acted and felt a certain way. Charlotte has an interesting family, typical and not at the same time, to understand what I mean you really have to read the book. I loved Ms. Watson, she was such a lovely character! The thing that I disliked about the novel was that Charlotte didn’t fall in love, and I really wanted that. Considering that this is a series, I hope I’ll read what I hoped will happen in this book. I got this ARC in an exchange for an honest review.

I received Sherry Thomas' A Study in Scarlet Women in exchange for an honest review. I'd read another of her books and was excited about a Sherlock twist. Perhaps because of these hopes, I kept wanting to find reasons to write a more positive review. Unfortunately, I found the book slow-going and was disappointed. The best part of the book for me was when Charlotte (aka Sherlock) would share her deductions. That, and when Mrs. Watson joined, added energy. While Charlotte was the key character, I found her reactive sister, Livvy, more interesting. Charlotte fell flat for me. Other characters take up large chunks of the book. Not being interested/invested in the characters made the mystery slower going for me. Sherry Thomas can write. She has sentences that I'll picture as I read and want to go back and reread that sentence. The book is not bad. For me, it was slow-going and might have done better had it not tried to fit into the Sherlock mold.

EXCELLENT read! From the first page to the last, packed with subtle twists that pull you in, and hook you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and look forward to more. I'm convinced that everyone will as hooked as I did!

3.5 out of 5 stars EXPECTATIONS A Study in Scarlet Women is my first mystery in several years and my first book by Sherry Thomas ever, and I greeted this read with open-mindness and eagerness of a novice. It’s hard to judge a book without having plenty material to compare it against (for the reasons mentioned above), therefore my opinion is based on subjective things like whether or not I found characters likable, whether the world was detailed and tangible enough to draw me in and whether the author made me want to try and solve the mystery before everyone. And yes, one of the most important things - whether the heroine, Charlotte Holmes, was a worthy alternative to the legendary original. MAIN CHARACTER I was quite satisfied with what I got. The main character is an exotic combination of feminine looks, masculine ambitions and extraordinary brain. And although she is somewhat emotionally challenged and lacks in ability to sympathise with people, her weaknesses - a good old plum cake and a good old crush - make her more humane, vulnerable and, well, believable. SECONDARY CHARACTERS I was also very pleased with the choice of the secondary characters, all well-rounded and entertaining in their own way. Charlotte’s sister, Olivia Holmes - a smart, kind woman, suffering from nearly all chauvinistic incredulities of Victorian England and scared of wanting something different. Lord Ingram - Charlotte’s old friend, a mixture of appropriateness required of a "pillar of society" and a deeply hidden but still untamed passion for life and, well, Charlotte. Inspector Treadles and his wife Alice - one of the cutest couples I have ever met in a book. The last but not least is Mrs. Watson - an extravagant version of Holmes’ sidekick, Charlottes soul-mother and a charismatic, sensitive woman who makes you feel proud, considering the times she lives in. ISSUES Needless to say that the setting of the book calls for some feministic talk. I don’t like it when authors overuse this issue in their work, but here ideas of empowerment and independence sound more than natural. Every woman in the novel expresses her grievances towards the rules and norms of society, which pushes, molds and restrains women, preventing them from living the life they want to have. NAY Although the book feels a bit slow at times, I really enjoyed the writing. And both the mystery and Charlotte’s method of solving it amused me - I was really looking forward to finding the answers to all the questions our heroine faced. Unfortunately, the ending is rather disappointing. It isn’t obvious or simple - I won’t lie saying "I knew it!". But the way the truth is revealed makes all the work carried out by the characters… worthless? No "ta da!" moment, no action, no climax. YAYS There are several things about the ending that I loved, though. 1. The long-anticipated moment of romance. It was literally a moment, but, well, beggars can’t be choosers. I hope this intense "friendship" will have its development later. 2. The first mention of omnipotent and omnipowerful villain, Moriarty, along with the offer of collaboration from Lord Ingram’s mysterious brother to Charlotte. This sounds promising. 3. The open-end-ish manner of parting with the characters - with a secret relations being revealed, a new opportunity for Olivia being suggested and, once again, Moriarty. VERDICT All being said, I think this book is a good start of the series. And now, after all the introductions given and pleasantries exchanged, let the second book show some real action!

Sherry Thomas has taken everything you love about Sherlock Holmes and twisted it ever so slightly to make it new and exciting, yet strangely familiar, all at the same time. The characters you know are tweaked in unexpected ways that cause mental cheers ("Oh, there you are") or groans ("No, not you") as they are revealed. The mysteries that are solved are done in perfect Holmes style. Excellent deductions abound, villains appear when and where you're least expecting it and the story ends perfectly, allowing a second book to come in and fill the now gaping hole in your Holmes loving heart. I adore the character of Charlotte and think she is a great detective. I look forward to following this series as it unfolds.

 


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