*I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher. All quotes used in this review come from the uncorrected proof. These are my personal, honest opinions. Thank you.*
Author: Nancy Springer
Publisher/Imprint: Wednesday Books
Edition: Paperback ARC, 261 Pages
Hardcover Publication Date: August 31, 2021
A Spine that Shines? Pretty Well!
Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.
The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!
My mother saw to it that I was not taught to knit, crochet, embroider, or play the piano; she wanted to make quite sure that I would never become domestic or decorative.
-Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche
Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely week. What have you been reading? I’m finally able to share my review of the new Enola Holmes novel with you, so let’s jump into my initial thoughts.
- This book is a brand new adventure that continues Enola’s story after the Netflix movie made Enola a star!
- This was also my first time reading anything by Nancy Springer. Even though I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the Enola series, I was still able to follow along, and there is a short recap of past events included at the beginning of the book.
- Overall, I enjoyed this little mystery novel. It is a fast-paced, short read under 300 pages. I read it at a time when I needed something quick and easy.
- The premise of the story is quite intriguing! The wife of an earl suddenly disappears, and she has supposedly died and been cremated. But the woman’s twin sister believes there is more to it and enlists the help of Enola and Sherlock.
- I enjoyed the perkiness and witty humor throughout the novel!
- In this book, you’ll also find some super fun elements, including secret messages, disguise, forged signatures, and a troublemaker horse named Jezebel!
Here are my brief thoughts regarding some of the characters:
- Enola, the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read about! Mischievous Enola is intelligent and has a great sense of clothing fashions and styles. At times, she is so bold, blunt, and unabashedly brash that I often found myself laughing aloud as I was reading! I also adored her sense of humor and her determination not to let people walk all over her just because she’s a female.
- Sherlock is of course Sherlock. His disposition is a tad odd in the beginning, but he seems more like his normal self as the story progresses. It is sometimes funny to see him fumble about whenever Enola happens to outshine him!
- Watson of course also joins in the fun. Though he is a relatively minor character in this story, I can’t imagine a Sherlock Holmes mystery without him!
- Lord Tewksbury is also in this story, though his role is very minor and could’ve been more fleshed out. He didn’t get very much page time, but I was still glad to read about him!
- The villain didn’t seem like a super well rounded character since he only has one main trait – he’s a “cad.” Still, it was fun to follow Enola along as she investigated different theories.
Here are a few other points I wanted to mention.
I felt that the villain’s motivation behind it all was not that compelling of a reason. (By this, I mean it was not a particularly original reason.)
There are some disturbing descriptions of mental health institutions and patients which may not have been handled in the most sensitive manner. But I suppose the descriptions are like that because they are described from Enola’s blunt POV.
Another thing that stuck out to me was the lack of romance. There is pretty much no romance in this novel. Even though there seemed to be some romantic undertones between Enola and Tewksbury in the Netflix movie, their relationship felt different in this book. In the book, they also seem quite young in my opinion, so I suppose the lack of romance is more appropriate.
Overall, I’m very glad I had the opportunity to read and review this book early! It was such fun, and I do recommend it for fans of quick mystery stories. It made me want to re-watch the Netflix film! Check the book out when it hits shelves on August 31st!
*Content Warnings: Some disturbing descriptions of mental health institutions and patients.*
Copyright © 2021 by Spines that Shine (Caitlin Shaffer)
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