Somehow, I read book three in the Enola Holmes series before book two. I feel like it’s been a long time since I did that! (I used to accidentally do it all the time somehow) Anyway, Enola is still in hiding from her meddling brothers who just want to make a lady out of her. She super does not want to be made a lady. I’m fully taken in by the character of Enola Holmes. It’s so hard for me to envision a world where a woman can’t be whatever the hell she wants to be. I know Enola is still a teen, but she’s supposed to be at a finishing school with the primary goal of being married off. She has so many more things to give the world than the sole role of wife. She’s caring and empathetic. She gives whatever she can to the poor, even though she’s barely got her shit together.
To the central mystery… Dr. Watson goes missing. He’s Sherlock Holmes’ kind of sidekick in this story. Sherlock mostly works alone, but if he has a partner for anything, it’s Dr. Watson. Enola sets herself up in the empty house next to Dr. Watson’s house to figure out who took him and who keeps sending his wife “bizarre bouquets” of flowers. Enola knows the language of flowers, so she knows that Watson is in danger and these bouquets are a threat. I felt like the bad guys were a little less exciting in this one, but it was still entertaining and a nice short read! 3.5 stars.
Ok here we go with book two, right after book three. This is the book Enola Holmes 2 is based off of. There’s a lot of embellishment (shocker) in the movie, but the story is loosely followed in the movie. Enola is hiding from her two brothers. It’s tough because one of them is the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. She doesn’t have too much trouble though, because they both think women are dumb. The take her intelligence for granted time and time again and she just keeps outsmarting them.
Enola discovers that Lady Cecily is missing, and of course she’s on the case. She finds some charcoal drawings in Cecily’s bedroom, and it looks like she’s a leftie. No biggie, right? Well apparently in Victorian London there were no lefties! It was evil or something. So Enola believes Lady Cecily is a free thinking woman like herself and can’t stop until she finds her.
There’s also a fun sub-plot where someone is garroting people at night on the streets. Enola loves to be on the streets at night! That’s when she dresses up as a mute nun and gives food and blankets to the poorest wretches on the street.
I liked this one a little better than number three because Enola has the opportunity to have a friend in Cecily. She’s so dreadfully alone, and it makes me (and her) feel better to know that someone else is like her in the world. 4 stars. Keep going with this series!
Again, I read a few books in between here, but they’re all going together now.
We find Enola just minding her own business in a lady’s lavatory. Apparently, you have to be a member or pay a fee or something? Victorian times sound like a real pain in the buttocks. She sees three women come in and does a double take because one of them is her old pal Cecily. She’s super under duress and trying to hide it. Enola (being a detective at heart) can tell. Cecily is with two older women who are basically manhandling her in the lavatory. She’s wearing a hideous sounding lime green dress with a bell skirt that Enola thinks is to keep Cecily hobbled. Cecily pulls out a hideous bright pink fan and starts signaling secretly to Enola, who also knows the language of fans. She basically asks for help and lets Enola know she’s in trouble. We kick off from there!
I believe Enola is only like fourteen or fifteen at this point. It’s hard to remember that because she’s living in London by herself and doing a bang-up job. She still occasionally has grief and sadness about her missing mom and how she just wanted a note or something from her that says she loved Enola. She’s still essentially alone, but sort of playing a dangerous game with her brother Sherlock. They keep meeting up on cases and she generally helps him out, and he promises not to basically abduct her and turn her into a lady. It’s totally a case-by-case basis though. Her other brother is still full time on the prowl looking to snatch her up and send her to finishing school. Anyway, Enola is trying to find Cecily while all of this personal stuff is going on. It’s an entertaining and short read, and I recommend it if you like Enola!! 4 stars.
Only one book between these two!
I felt really badly for Enola in this book. Her mom abandoned her on her fourteenth birthday, which started all of Enola’s adventures, but she is still a teen girl who occasionally needs her mother. She’s lived in a rented room in Mrs. Tupper’s house for months at this point, and her landlady is frequently more of a mother to her than her own mother ever was. In previous books she’s nursed Enola back to health when she was injured or sick, and she feeds her (albeit bad food) every night. They care for each other much more than a simple tenant / landlady relationship.
That’s what makes Mrs. Tupper’s kidnapping even harder for Enola. She’s trying to figure out the mystery when her landlady suddenly disappears while also dealing with her feelings about Mrs. Tupper and her own mother. It’s a lot for a fifteen-year-old girl. There’s one line in this book that really struck me too. Enola spends so much of her time hiding from her brothers and trying to stay in disguise so nobody gives her crap about being a young girl on her own in London that at one point she says something about not knowing who she should be that day. It just made me sad for her because she has to do so much on her own and keep everything straight all while not getting caught. I won’t talk about any more plot details aside from how Sherlock Holmes and Florence Nightingale talk about why Enola is fleeing from him. She tells him now awful and almost deadly finishing schools are for girls and he’s super surprised and uninformed about the whole thing. I feel like he actually listened to her though. Hopefully for Enola’s sake I’m right! 4 stars.
OK last Enola for now. I read a few in between these two, but here we go.
This is considered book 6.5, because it’s just a short between Book 6, which I haven’t read yet, and Book 7, which I haven’t read yet. I don’t think there’s much I missed from book six that’s relevant to this one though.
For a while, Enola has had a porter named Joddy working for her. She called him the boy in buttons sometimes because he always wore a uniform with pearl button embellishments. Joddy was basically her all around boy. He’d make her tea, stoke her fire, bring her the newspaper, that kind of stuff. One day he’s sick, and he sends his brother Paddy to do his work. He does a fine job, but the next day she finds out that Paddy never made it home.
Enola makes the (exceedingly) long trek to basically the wrong side of the tracks where Joddy and Paddy live. It’s a rough area and she’s a little scared for the boys. She’s also concerned that they have to walk two hours every day to get to her house for work. Anyway, she eventually finds a pile of buttons on the street. She knows they’re the uniform buttons and she’s determined to find Paddy.
There’s a bunch of creeping around London at night. It wouldn’t be an Enola Holmes book if there wasn’t. She of course successfully finds the boy, and also tries to make both Joddy and Paddy’s lives better than she found them. It’s a super short read, but worth borrowing if you can find it!