Publish date October 14, 2016
Price: $15.00 paperback; $9.99 e-book
I’d like to start out this posting with a little background on Sherry Thomas for those of you who are not familiar with her works. She’s an acclaimed author whom is frequently on best-seller lists for romance, young adult and women’s fiction. Her previous fiction of the YA persuasion, The Elemental Trilogy, was a delightful roller-coaster ride in which became more glorious with each turn of the page right up to the last one.
Next, if you don’t know this yet, Ms. Thomas writes in her second language! The first being Chinese. This should give hope to all those who are struggling with the American language, to which I sometimes succumb to deficiencies in speech as well as writing. With this said, let’s get on with my thoughts on A Study In Scarlet Women.
The cover immediately drew my eye from a long list of covers as it intrigued me with it’s moonlight sliver-blue color, a woman in scarlet from a century or so past slightly surrounded by a light fog and of course a hint of light in varying hues. This screamed- READ ME! and so I did. Was thrilled to actually.
Named after A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, Ms. Thomas’ work is a role reversal on the Sherlock Homes books. Charlotte Homes is the odd woman out in the 1800’s; too logical to be a society miss, but stuck in the role until she takes matters in to her own hands. The first third of the book sets up the cast of characters and can be slightly tedious, but necessary, as this series and must be done. Personally, I could have done without the prologue, but some may want one as in the original Sherlock series, Dr. Watson provides prologue by way of personal history. Once Ms. Thomas gets rolling with the story, she delves deep in Sherlock Homes psyche. Readers looking for a quick, mindless read will be disappointed; to follow the clues, twists and turns Charlotte’s (Sherry’s) sleuthing takes you’ll need to pay attention as train of thought can quickly lead in another direction. There’s no romance in this book, it’s a mystery, plain and simple. Not to say that there’s not a set up for romance to happen, and it may, but not in this volume.
For Homes fans, the cast of characters exist, but in a slightly different set up, so if you’re a die hard Sherlockian, please don’t assault Ms. Thomas with emails that she’s desecrated Sir Conan’s work–it’s very enjoyable WOMENs fiction. While reading, my mind kept contemplating what a wonder storyteller Ms. Thomas is; how mind-blowing it must be to write such in depth, logical characters and the skill it took to accomplish this work while upholding the original story structure of Sherlock Homes.
There are some inconsistencies, which may be on purpose, such as the set up of ‘Sherlock’ being a very ill man who can not be met with in person, but lies in the other room, while Charlotte, the ‘sister of Sherlock’, meets with clients and then confers with her brother. Yet, in chapter 12, ‘Sherlock’ proclaims to prove himself to Treadles by speaking of slight nuances about his attire, which someone in another room would never be able to see, such as the material of Treadles’ clothes, cuffs and detachable collar. This type of faux-pas happens frequently throughout the book, e.g.- policemen using a pen vs. a pencil, as pens were for the rich and I can’t see a local police budget of this time period including ink pens for field officers. It’s unknown if the author decided other characters are too far below in intelligence to notice or if this will ultimately lead to the mass unveiling of a fraud. While this is annoying, it is done masterfully, providing a sense of relating to the time period, so I’m willing to play along and I hope you will too.