Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

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A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is a breath of fresh air in the market of historical romances, where one story tends to blend into another. A phenomenal read, and by the time I reached the end, I wanted more! I can’t wait for the next book, which comes out in 2017!

Anyway, my review: I became interested in all things Sherlock due to the BBC show Sherlock. That’s why I was intrigued when I read the blurb. I wanted to know if Sherry Thomas, whose historical romances I loved, could pull it off. And she did!

I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I thought the mystery here was well done and logical. There are enough red herrings to keep you guessing, and there are also lots of surprising twists and turns in the story–both in Charlotte’s life and in the mystery–that would keep you involved until the very end.

For me, one of the factors of this novel’s success is the heroine–Charlotte Holmes. She’s a very unusual heroine, strong, very smart, her mind runs on a different plane than ours, and I guess it’s reasonable to assume that she’s modeled after Sherlock Holmes. However, the way the author presented her, Charlotte is not a sociopath. She’s just…different, and her powers of observation are top-notch. She’s also empathetic, enough that I was rooting for her until the end.

I read somewhere of the author mentioning that the book has strong romantic elements. And I was super happy to see that indeed there was. Hmmm…not to give anything away, there’s a strong reason why Charlotte can’t be with the man she’s interested in/likes/loves, and I like the role reversal here where Charlotte doesn’t feel the need to be constrained by society’s rules for ladies. Still, I like the conflict, the tension between them, and I hope to see more scenes of the two of them together. It gives me a lot of hope for book 2, where Charlotte needs to work closely with him. All for the good of the Crown, of course. 🙂 I know the original Sherlock didn’t end up with anyone, but I hope that won’t be the case for Charlotte!

Another thing I want to comment on is the multiple points of view (POV’s) employed in this story. One reason for this could be due to the murder investigation, where Charlotte can’t be at, so we needed to know things from the POV of Inspector Treadles, who was conducting the investigation at the request/guidance of Charlotte, whom he knew as Sherlock Holmes. While this is different from the usual books that I read, I was surprised to find that I like it, because it also gives me a more well-rounded view of Charlotte, as seen via different people. In line with this, I was glad to see that the inspector is not a cardboard character here. His character is also following its own arc, and I can’t wait to see how his story will develop.

Overall, A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is a strong first book in the Lady Sherlock series! If I could give this 10 stars, I would. A gem of a story, I highly recommend it. A must read, especially for Sherlock Holmes aficionados!

Rating: 5 stars

The Romance Review

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Summary:

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.

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