Review: Miss Moriarty, I Presume?

Review: Miss Moriarty, I Presume?Miss Moriarty, I Presume? (Lady Sherlock #6) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #6
Published by Berkley on November 2, 2021
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: I loved this book because it brings a lot of loose threads in the series together. My favorite part is how the relationship between Holmes and Ingram is shown throughout the book. My favorite part of the series is the romance, which is well represented here.

THE STORY: Charlotte Holmes’s new client is none other than Moriarty, who wants Charlotte to find out what has happened to his daughter. Charlotte cannot refuse, but she wonders why Moriarty has come to her and whether she is being set up. Charlotte and Mrs. Watson travel to investigate Moriarty’s daughter’s disappearance. Charlotte’s sister and Lord Ingram investigate the clue left by the man Livia loves (who is controlled by Moriarty).

OPINION: This book ended up being completely enjoyable because the relationship between Charlotte and Lord Ingram has *finally* progressed. I freely admit that while I enjoy a good mystery, I keep coming back to these books because of the relationship between Charlotte and Ingram. Readers of the series know that there have been some will they/won’t they in the previous books, but now we have moved on to see if this relationship can actually work.

At the same time, the threat from Moriarty has become more acute. There is a lot going on in this book as various threads of the investigation are going on. Admittedly, it was hard to keep track of all these different issues, but that is part of the complexity of the story. The book demands attention which I enjoy because I want to be involved in the mystery. Thankfully, the book does explain what happened. And the story continues beyond this book, as is true with the entire series.

The mystery here has a lot of twists and turns, and the story keeps the reader guessing. I thought that once things were revealed, I appreciated the journey more. I read this kind of book again to catch what I missed the first time.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a densely packed story that really relies on the books that precede it. Not that the story directly continues from those books but rather this is a progression on the overarching storyline in the series. As a result, this book sometimes assumes knowledge about people and events from prior books. I did not mind it at all, but some readers might want to brush up on the prior books before diving into this one.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MISS MORIARTY, I PRESUME? is the sixth book in the Lady Sherlock series. Typically, because these books have self-contained mysteries, I say that the books can be read out of order, but are better read in order. This book is different. This book really should be read as part of the series because it is critical to the overarching story of the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Ravishing the Heiress

Review: Ravishing the HeiressRavishing the Heiress (Fitzhugh Trilogy, #2) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Fitzhugh Trilogy #2
Published by Berkley on July 3, 2012
Genres: Historical
Pages: 304
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: This book is complicated and out of the ordinary. It challenges the reader, and many will reject it. But the right reader will find this book simply beautiful as it explores two people who are married for years before the romance starts. I loved Millie and Fitz and will think about this book for a long time.

THE STORY: Millie is to marry an earl who needs her father’s money. The Earl Fitzhugh never planned on inheriting the earldom, and certainly not in giving up his life’s plan and the woman he loves because of an impoverished earldom. Now he has to marry an heiress. The only problem is that Millie has fallen in love with Fitz at first sight. Fitz and Millie end up agreeing not to consummate their marriage for eight years — and allowing Fitz to live his own life during those years. Now, as the eight years are coming to an end, the love of Fitz’s life is now free, and she and Fitz are brought together again. Before he can be free with the woman he loves, however, Fitz knows he must consummate his marriage and hopefully get his wife with an heir to uphold his agreement with Millie.

OPINION: I wouldn’t have appreciated this book when I was younger. This book is so much about marriage and dealing with disappointment and loss. But it is also about friendship and love and building something together. Millie and Fitz become partners and grow up as individuals. This is an amazing story, but reading it takes the right mindset.

This book is angsty, emotional, and heartbreaking.

There are so many moments when I wanted to dislike the characters, but Thomas does such a good job of making all the characters complex that each has positive and negative qualities.

Millie is simply amazing in this book. She is quiet, but she isn’t a pushover. Indeed, she has a spine of steel. She endures. Everything about her personality shows that she is strong and opinionated. As Fitz recognizes in her something wry and clever and so very strong. She runs her home, she is able to run her family business. She is kind. This book could so easily go wrong with a heroine who Fitz walks over — but Millie is not that person. She makes choices that others disagree with, but they are her choices.

Fitz could have come off as a terrible jerk. But, like Millie, he is incredibly young when their marriage begins. I love this book because we get to see how he grows up and how his relationship with Millie forms an essential part of who he is. He makes mistakes, but he also grows during the book.

The relationship between Fitz and Millie is beautiful. It is messy and complicated, but I also love that the two talk and communicate with one another. That’s what makes the messy parts okay. They are always talking with one another, so the apparent betrayal isn’t really betrayal. Their relationship is really a friendship and partnership that grows throughout the book.

The only negative thing to me was that the introduction of the next romance involving the sister felt intrusive at times. I wanted more Millie and Fitz.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book transgresses one of the rules of romance — infidelity. Some people won’t like this book because of that.

CONNECTED BOOKS: RAVISHING THE HEIRESS is the second book in the Fitzhugh Trilogy. There are overlapping stories, and appearances are made by characters from the other books in the series (because the series is about three siblings). This book can completely be read on its own — as I haven’t read the others in the series and understood what I needed to here.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Murder on Cold Street

Review: Murder on Cold StreetMurder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock, #5) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #5
Published by Berkley Books on October 6, 2020
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 344
Goodreads
five-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: With a tricky and somewhat classic mystery — who murdered two men in a locked room — this book combines a thinking investigation with a wonderful turn in Sherlock’s “romance” with Ingram.

THE STORY: Inspector Treadles is found locked in a room with two dead men and is thus the prime and only suspect in their murders. Charlotte along with her cadre of family and friends has to find out what happened or whether or not Inspector Treadles acting upon jealously murdered the men associated with his wife’s business.

OPINION: The mystery here is a classic one — who murdered the victim in a locked room? This book, like all in this series, has a great mystery premise. It certainly meets the standard of constructing an intriguing and satisfying mystery. What sets this book, and the series apart for me is the character of Charlotte and the ongoing stories that span the books of the series. The character of Charlotte finally is getting a growth spurt in this book. Her world has changed, and she is gaining complexity as it does. I love her interactions with her friends and family especially Lord Ingram (who is simply adorable in this book). Charlotte is a bit flustered in this book, which is a change for her but quite lovely overall as we get to see more of her softer side.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book ends with a peek at what is coming up next.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MURDER ON COLD STREET is the fifth book in the Lady Sherlock series. The mystery is standalone and can be read without having read the other books in the series. However, there are overarching character stories and an overarching plotline that is advanced in this book.

FINAL DECISION: I give this book 5 stars.

 

five-stars

Review: The Art of Theft

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: The Art of TheftThe Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock, #4) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #4
Published by Berkley on October 15, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: This book leans towards adventure more than cerebral mystery, but it works very well. I especially enjoyed those surrounding Sherlock Holmes joining together as a group to investigate. Grounded nicely in character and emotion, I enjoyed the progression of the various characters stories.

THE STORY: Following the intensely personal events of THE HOLLOW OF FEAR, this book turns to the supporting characters in the series who have bigger roles here and their history and relationships are explored more. It is Mrs. Watson who desperately needs the help of Sherlock Holmes and the cast of characters to help an old friend. The group end up traveling to France to steal a piece of art.

OPINION: After the intensity of the prior book being focused on Charlotte and Lord Ingram, this book primarily focuses on others in Sherlock’s orbit. There is much progression here character wise. (We do also get some of the emotional aftermath between Charlotte and Ash).

This book goes in a new direction with more of a heist book than a thoughtful mystery. I enjoyed both the mystery and the character moments in this book. As with all the books in this series, this feels original and interesting. Charlotte is a singular character — my favorite adaption of the Sherlock Holmes character.

Every moment feels fresh and interesting. I love the characters and I want to know how they are going to solve the mystery that comes before Charlotte. This book is very much a collaborate effort between the various characters and while Charlotte is definitely the lead, this one feels more like a group effort. There are more characters who rise to importance and their stories are intriguing as more secrets are revealed.

With plenty of exciting adventures, this one kept me turning pages until the end. (And what an ending…now I have to wait a year for the next in the series, oh no!)

WORTH MENTIONING: As with other books in this series, the main story here is completed, but the book ends on a cliffhanger for the next in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE ART OF THEFT is the fourth book in the Lady Sherlock series. While the mystery here is self-contained, the characters and the overarching stories make this deeply connected with the other books in the series. I believe a reader should start at the beginning, otherwise, there is much to the mystery that will be unanswerable.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: The Hollow of Fear

Review: The Hollow of FearThe Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock, #3) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #3
Published by Berkley on October 2, 2018
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 326
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Cementing this series as one of the most original and intriguing historical mystery series around, Thomas allows readers to delve into the relationship between Charlotte Holmes and Lord Ingram in ways that are unexpected and clever.

THE STORY: Charlotte Holmes, who uses her intelligence and reasoning to solve crimes, is confronted with the most serious case of her career. Lady Ingram, the wife of her friend, Lord Ingram is found dead and Lord Ingram is the prime suspect. Beginning on the heals of the event of A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA, Lord Ingram’s estranged wife has been running from Moriarty and Charlotte has to go undercover to save Lord Ingram.

OPINION: I loved this book. I enjoy a story that surprises me and this one had me twisted around until the very end. Unfortunately the nature of the book precludes much discussion of the plot beyond the blurb, but I very much enjoyed the mystery in this book. It was complex and intriguing and by the end I was surprised but also satisfied by the resolution.

Charlotte and Ingram are the focus of this book and readers who may have wondered about the chance of a romance between them will get some interesting time between these two. Yet Charlotte still remains her own person with a strong sense of self and her own agency. I loved how the story progressed and the book feels satisfying while pushing some of the overarching storylines forward for future books.

Original and compelling, the seriousness of the events can be impressed upon readers that Charlotte, loses her appetite — which basically makes this a serious crisis.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book follows directly from the events in A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA and I recommend refreshing the memory of what happened in that book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE HOLLOW OF FEAR is the third book in the Lady Sherlock series. This book especially should be read after the second book in the series. I think it assumes knowledge about the characters and situation that one can only really gleam from having read the prior book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia

Review: A Conspiracy in BelgraviaA Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Published by Penguin Group (USA) LLC on September 5th 2017
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Twisty, complicated, multi-layered with multiple stories and a unique heroine, this story demands a lot from its readers, but delivers a shocking resolution that moves the overarching storylines of this series forward.

THE STORY: Continuing her work and deception as “Sherlock Holmes”, Charlotte Holmes has a new complication. Lady Ingram, the wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor wants Sherlock to locate her first love who failed to show up for their annual meeting. It turns out that man that Mrs. Ingram is seeking is none other than Charlotte’s illegitimate half brother. Charlotte is also struggling with an unexpected proposal from Lord Ingram’s brother. Mysteries, deceptions, divided loyalties, and false identities abound in this story.

OPINION: Continuing this complex gender flip on the Sherlock Holmes series, this book moves the series past the “origin” phase and shows Charlotte in her complete agency. The book begins right after the ending of the first book and assumes knowledge of those events (so readers with fading memories might want a refresher). Having discovered that she did not actually escape her desperate circumstances under her own power, but rather because of her longtime friend Lord Ingram, Charlotte contemplates what that means.

Right into this conflict walks Lady Ingram. Charlotte now has another dilemma to sort out — what are her obligations to Lord Ingram now that she knows that his wife has a tender for another man. Charlotte, of course, considers this from her intellectual factual perspective, but the other characters around her help illuminate the emotional aspects as well. The plot of this story is complex with several different investigations involving different parties (and even different investigators). There are also numerous characters with their own issues and motives (I especially like the Scotland Yard Inspector who is having difficulties dealing with independent and intelligent women — even his own wife). I was completely satisfied by these various stories but a reader who is looking for a straightforward mystery might be frustrated because nothing is straight here. Some things are significant even when they don’t appear so and vice versa. Some things are connected. Some things completely random. And some things are probably merely planting seeds for the future.

I believe that Charlotte’s character’s complexity takes a big leap in this book. Readers already introduced to her, know that she is poor at the emotional resonance of actions and really, really good at the intellectual calculations involved in decisions (think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory).  We get to see that she has her own method of understanding the world and relationships that are not at all cold. She does, after all, care very much for her two younger sisters. As she contemplates the marriage proposal of Ingram’s brother, we get to see her thought processes which gives tremendous insights into her feelings not only for Ingram’s brother, but for Ingram himself. As a character, Charlotte is not an easy one to understand — or perhaps for everyone to like — but I enjoy the way her mind works and her essential decency. Even when that means that she must impart hard information.

I look forward to the next book in the series, but there is much still left to discover.

WORTH MENTIONING: Moriarty.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA is the second book in the Lady Sherlock series. I think this book needs to be read as part of the series and not on its own.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Sight Unseen

Review: Sight UnseenSight Unseen: A Collection of Five Anonymous Novellas by Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Erin Satie, Emma Barry, J.A. Rock
Published by Open Ink Press on June 6th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 386
Goodreads
four-stars

SIGHT UNSEEN is an anthology of five stories written by different authors.  Three months after the publication, the authors will be revealed.

LOST THAT FEELING:  Alma is being held in prison where she is told she is a thief and a murderer.  Having cast a spell on herself, Alma has lost her memories from the last seven  years.  When she is rescued by a man named Driss, he tells her he is a friend and that she is actually a hero helping to overthrow an oppressive leader. Alma, however, doesn’t know who to trust and also who she really is.  This story was a disappointment to me.  I really loved the setup and the relationship between Alma and Driss seemed to have much promise, but instead of focusing on the relationship, the story spends too much time on the reasons that Alma’s spell went wrong. I wish there was more relationship development.  Rating: 2 stars.

CLEAR VIEW OF YOU:  Kate was raised by her mother as a future witch, but Kate was a disappointment to her mother. As she grew, Kate realized that her mother was actually running a cult and that magic is fake.  Fleeing to the “real world” Kate finances her education by acting as a psychic.  When her new client, North, has a special request for Kate, she wonders if this is an offer of a lifetime or one too good to be true.  I really liked this story.  My complaint was that it was too short.  I would love to read more stories in this world with these characters.  For such a short story, there is a lot of development in the story with both discovery of self and also dramatic plot developments.  Fun and intriguing.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

FREE:  Brad White is in love with Wren Masters.  The complication is that Brad works for a criminal motorcycle club and Wren is the club’s president’s daughter.  When Wren discovers the truth about the club, she works with Brad to discover the truth about what is going on with her father’s club.  The truth may, however, threaten any future for Brad and Wren.  This story was uneven and parts of it were unsatisfying, but I loved Brad and his devotion to Wren even when she doesn’t respond to him.  There was something fresh and intriguing about the story even if it didn’t feel polished.  I wanted to know more about the future of these two.  Rating: 4 stars.

CHARIOT OF DESIRE:  CJ Crespo has always been interested in her bandmate Donny Times. After years of self-destructive behavior (it was the 1970s after all), Donny has joined a cultish religion which imposes a morality that threatens to tear the band and Donny and CJ apart.  This is more a vignette than a fully reconciled story.  I was unhappy because while the story tells something about these characters, it felt unfinished and I was left asking what would actually happen between these characters.  Rating: 2.5 stars.

THE HEART IS A UNIVERSE:  On the planet of Pax Cora a young woman is slated to be the sacrifice in order to save her planet.  Vitalis, however, has moved from acceptance of her fate to the decision to flee and save herself.  Her desperation leads her to accept an invitation to a courtship summit where she meets the heroic and handsome prince Eleian of Terra.  Immediately upon their meeting the stranger Eleian proposes marriage. What is unclear is what are Eleian’s motives in wanting to marry a woman who will die in sixteen days if she doesn’t escape.  Absolutely wonderful.  My favorite story in the anthology.  While all the threads didn’t come together for me in the end, I thought the journey and the relationship between these characters was compelling.  I couldn’t put it down and kept turning pages wanting to know what the secrets between these characters were, how the two would resolve the dilemmas facing them and just wanting to know what the end would be.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

four-stars

Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

Review: A Study in Scarlet WomenA Study In Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #1
on October 18th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-stars

“Holmes’s mind has always been a thing of beauty.”

“Holmes wants only an occupied mind. Everything else is secondary.”

FINAL DECISION: An intriguing book which is uneven in parts and not as mystery intense as I expected but which turns the Sherlock Holmes mythology on its head in a fascinating way. This book clearly is setting up future stories which I have much potential. I can’t wait to see how this series develops.

THE STORY: Charlotte Holmes is a woman with a unique brain who doesn’t fit in a society that only values a woman’s looks, marital prospects and breeding potential.  Charlotte plans her own ruination to gain her freedom and independence.

OPINION:  What would happen if Sherlock Holmes was a young woman in Victorian England?  That is the question this book begin with.  This is Sherlock’s origin story and as such is much more focused on the characters and the setup of the series rather than being devoted to the mystery.  There is enough mystery here for interest but the focus is on how Charlotte truly becomes Sherlock Holmes

Charlotte is an incredibly intelligent woman who is out of step with the roles allowed women in Victorian England. She miscalculates in trying to determine her own fate which leaves her vulnerable in ways she didn’t expect. While her unorthodox behavior and way of looking at the world initially makes her difficult to know, it is clear that she does have feelings even though she wishes to think them away.  Her relationships are what bring out her humanity.

Livia is Charlotte’s older sister cares deeply for Charlotte and her devotion is returned. Livia has taken care of her sister and when Charlotte is on her own, her sister fears for her.  Charlotte realizes that her situation has damaged her sister and works to repair the situation.  The ending leaves interesting possibilities for Livia’s future.

Lord Ingram is Charlotte’s romantic interest although the two have a long history together and he is now married.  There is clearly something between these two that compels them together even though they do not have a future.  Ingram operates as an intermediary for Charlotte in her investigations.

Inspector Treadles and his wife Alice are a genuinely happy couple. Treadles is the police investigator who seeks assistance from Holmes and is also given information by Holmes. He is married above his station and works with Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to better his professional prospects. Treades and his wife operate as a truly happy couple amongst all the disfunction.

I enjoyed this book because the series has a great deal of promise.  There are some slow points in the book and I don’t think the mystery is as well integrated or as interesting in its solution as I would have hoped.  I think that now that the parameters of the series have been outlined, however, there is much to look forward to.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This series is intended to be an ongoing one.  The mystery is resolved but there are numerous overarching character stories which remain unresolved.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is the first book in the Lady Sherlock series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars