I keep struggling to summarise the plot in a good way, so I’ll just let the blurb do it:
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.
True fact, with the exception of a couple of extremely abridged and adapted easy reader short stories that we’ve used as examples of classics when teaching my pupils (which I doubt are really very representative of the real thing, as both the plot and the language have been simplified to an utterly ridiculous degree), I have never read a single Sherlock Holmes story. I have watched both the Guy Ritchie directed movies, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. I watched the first three seasons of the BBC Sherlock, including the Christmas special, but steered clear of the disastrous fourth season, because the show’s creators were clearly not taking the story or characters anywhere I was interested in going and life’s just too short, you know? My husband and I have so far enjoyed the first five seasons of Elementary (or The Adventures of Mr. Elementary and Joan, as we like to refer to it, as its protagonists are quite a ways away from the original source material by now, and it’s just another amusing TV procedural). I’ve read several YA books with teen sleuths inspired by Sir Conan Doyle’s stories, and yet I have never felt the need to read one for myself. I find the concept of the Sherlock Holmes a lot more interesting and appealing than I suspect I would the actual character.
Now, Sherry Thomas, on the other hand, is an author whose career I’ve followed since she started publishing back in 2008. The only books of hers I haven’t read by now are the last two in her YA Elementals trilogy, but I aim to get around to that too. So when she decided to stop writing excellent, if somewhat angsty historical romances, and decided to start gender flipping Sherlock Holmes, I knew I would have to read this books eventually.
For several months now, the pressures of my very time-consuming job and trying to cope with mothering a beautiful, cheerful, but absolutely demanding toddler has been wreaking havoc with my ability to concentrate. On bad days, I feel about two steps away from a complete burnout, and I seem to mostly just want to mindlessly scroll through social media on my phone, as it demands little to nothing of me. For most of my adult life, reading has been an escape and a means of relaxation for me, but since I returned to work in November, it’s been hard to find the time, enthusiasm or energy for books. However, when I started the audio books for Ms. Thomas’ Lady Sherlock books, I finished the existing three books in less than a week. I found myself making excuses, just so I could listen more and the books absolutely captivated me. As this is a rare feeling nowadays, it made me all the more grateful.
Now, having never read the actual source material, I can’t compare it as a reimagining. I can just speak for what works remarkably well in Ms. Thomas’ books.
Full review on my blog.