…that my recent purchase was books about books!
What’s your favorite book about books?
Brief synopsis (Goodreads): 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.
Rating: Left behind
Long story short (no spoilers): When I thought of a gender-bend Sherlock Holmes story, I assumed that the only thing that would change would be his gender, and that at her core, this reimagined character would still be Sherlock in her mannerisms and eccentricities. Sadly, A Study in Scarlet Women is not that kind of story, and that was disappointing.
Instead Sherlock—or rather Charlotte—is intelligent and extremely observant, yet lacks the traditional characteristics that make Sherlock Sherlock. She demonstrates empathy and a mastery of social skills, she isn’t narcissistic, she isn’t really stubborn, she doesn’t disregard authority, and she more or less conforms to social norms.
I understand that the author wanted to highlight the difficulties of a woman doing what Sherlock did in his time, however the tradeoff was that Charlotte became less like Sherlock. The book would have made more sense had Charlotte been a new character altogether—a woman detective working under an assumed name—instead of a watered-down version of Sherlock Holmes.
In addition, there are several instances where Charlotte makes decisions that don’t make sense given how smart she is. Some show a lack of common sense, which fits with the traditional Sherlock character, but others seem like their only purpose is to move the (slow) plot along.
Ultimately I won’t be reading the rest of the series, though I’m determined to find a good Sherlock gender-bend story. The next one on my list is A Study in Charlotte (man, everybody loves that name…), which is the first book in a trilogy.
Have any of you read either of those? Or have suggestions for other Sherlock spin-offs? Let me know! You can also keep reading for a spoiler review of A Study in Scarlet Women. Continue reading “Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas”
To practice some self-love and care these past few days I instinctively turned to the thing that makes me happy: reading. In books I find escape and solace; I find adventure and new friendships; I find compassion and hope.
I took to my bullet journal to make a note of some quotes and passages that have always helped me heal and focus. Because that’s what we’re going to have to do. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually our pain will have to give way to productive, collective action.
But I don’t have to worry about that right now. Before I roll up my sleeves and dig deep, I’m going to climb into bed with some hot chocolate and find peace in the comforting words of old friends.
FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
What do you guys turn to when times are rough?