Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tea & Read: A Study in Scarlet Women

Title: A Study in Scarlet Women
Author: Sherry Thomas
Rating: Three Cups of Tea (4 Stars)

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.

I am normally a purist when it comes to my classic books. I am often frustrated by retelling/fan fiction because it is typically worse than the original. Or it takes away what you loved about the original.

A Study in ScarletWomen is not one of those books. This book is delightful.

It is a retelling of Sir Author Coyne Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, a Sherlock Holmes story. But the author adds to the story and makes it more interesting. First of all, Sherlock is a woman named Charlette. That only adds so much richness to the story. Thomas was able to deal with sexism and the limited opportunities of women during the Victorian age. So often in books set in this age, this topic is glossed over, but Thomas presents a different angle.

Also, Charlette has sisters. Her relationship with them shows another difference between the original and Charlotte Holmes. Unlike the original Sherlock, Charlotte is awkward but not calculating and unfeeling. There are other characters, including a love interest, that bring out different sides of Charlotte.

The pacing of the story moved at a manageable clip, even the backstory, and the audiobook narrator was amazing (the narrator can make or break a book). The case was another way it was different than the original. It was impossibly hard to figure out, but it also wasn't the center of the story. Charlotte and her relationships were the real drive of the plot.

Great read and I hope this is the first of many.

Tea pairing: Earl Grey, hot, of course. 

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