Potential Spoilers Ahead; Read at your own risk.
Book Title: A Study In Charlotte
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Point of View: Single [Jamie Watson] (Epilogue in different POV: Charlotte Holmes)
Writing Style: First Person
Setting: Connecticut, USA
Genre: Young Adult Mystery Romance [I would even say maybe a no on the Romance due to circumstances] (Retelling)
HEA: Yes. (Well for the first in a series anyway)
Additional Content: This is a modern day retelling of Sherlock Holmes. There are some adult themes in this book. (Murder, drugs, rape.)
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
A Study In Charlotte is a modern day retelling of Sherlock Holmes through the eyes of the great detective and the doctors ancestors. Cavallaro has clearly done her homework, the details about the original Sherlock were (to the best of my knowledge) accurate and given the first case; accuracy and staying true to the original works was extremely important.
Just as with the original stories A Study in Charlotte is written, not in the perspective of Charlotte Holmes, but in Jamie Watsons. Upon realizing this I was able to deduce (*wink wink*) that Charlotte would be just as unbearable as Sherlock. (If it were written in a Holmes’ POV no one would want to read it.) That may sound like a negative, but I feel it helped the novel stay true to its origins. I can safely say I have never come across a character quite like Charlotte with the exception of her ancestor. She was for all extents and purposes unbearable. And while there were certain events that had taken place to make her the way she is (well, at least they can be accountable for certain aspects), you can see the parts of her persona that have been ingrained into her since, probably, birth.
Unlike Sherlock Holmes however, Charlotte had a few tender moments with Jamie Watson that allowed him to see she really was just as scared as he was about the events unfolding around them. Jamie was a very sweet character. At first I didn’t like him; he had this idolized idea of what Charlotte would be like. It’s not that he had this fictionalized idea of her that bugged me, but that he wasn’t smart enough to see that his version of her was so far off from the reality of the Holmes’. From what I can see he had a good understanding off based of their families interactions and his ancestors writings, so that bugged/confused me. After the main plot begins and Watson and Holmes begin working together and getting to know one another Jamie begins to unravel Charlotte and, while his idealized version of her is crushed, he begins to understand and appreciate the Holmes he has.
I enjoyed that Charlotte was unlikable, the author included quirks of Sherlock’s and vices of his to make her character extremely flawed. In fact both characters were flawed. I liked that, it made them realistic.
While Watson at times struggled with handling Charlotte he did receive somewhat of a list on how to manage a Holmes from a fellow Watson. I personally could have read an entire book simply about these instructions.
- 1. Search often for opiates and dispose of as needed; retaliation will not come often, though is swift and exacting when it does—do not grow attached to one’s mirrors or drinking glasses.
- 2. During your search, always begin with the hollowed-out heels of Holmes’s boots.
- 8. On the whole, coaxing works rather better than straightforward demands.
- 9. Sometimes for your own sake you must leave Holmes to his own devices, even if you return to find he’s set himself on fire.
- 39. Under all circumstances, do not allow Holmes to cook your dinner unless you have a taste for cold unseasoned broth.
- 41. Be prepared to receive compliments once every two to three years.
- 74. Whatever happens, remember it is not your fault and likely could not have been prevented, no matter your efforts.
- 87. Hide all firearms before throwing Holmes a surprise birthday party.
- 102. Have no compunctions about drugging Holmes’s tea if he hasn’t slept.
See, great list right? A shame Jamie doesn’t employ all the suggestions suggested by the reliable source that gave it to him. Could have saved me some internal yelling at him. Oh well, he learns his lesson and begins to pay more attention in the end/future.
The plot itself was superb, without saying too much, multiple Sherlock stories were used to create the crimes. And while I personally didn’t suspect the culprit I did guess the Big Man in charge (well kind of… I guessed the last name? But I think everyone could guess that). The characters are pushed to new limits and the events really shape Charlotte and Jamie into becoming what I can only assume will be a crime fighting duo just like their ancestors (but maybe with a few more passionate embraces? Kisses? Anything?). The Detective and her trusty Doctor saving the day once again. While this is a retelling of sorts, I can’t stress enough that it is not the same story. The characters, while similar to their ancestors, are unique and individual. I did find the beginning with Jamie going to a new school in America, coincidentally the same school Charlotte has been sent to, a little too obvious but it’s explained later how that came to be.
Overall I found A Study in Charlotte to be extremely entertaining, a great YA mystery and to be full of wonderful characters that are flawed and have a great friendship.
To go along with this review I’m hosting a giveaway and anyone can enter!
(If The Book Depository ships to you, you can enter.)
••• Giveaway CLOSED •••
The Book Depository: Hardback
Goodreads : Becca Winter
Instagram : becca_theory
Twitter : @Becca_Theory
Facebook : The Troubles And Woes Of A Bookworm