Skip to main content

Enola Holmes Gives Famous Brother a Run for His Money

I love mysteries, historical fiction and quirky twists on old classics so I was very interested in reading the Enola Holmes Mysteries when I discovered their existence.  This series of six books by Nancy Springer follows the adventures of Sherlock's much younger sister, Enola. I just finished reading the first one:
 
"I would very much like to know why my mother named me 'Enola', which backwards, spells alone.''  Thus begins the story Enola tells of how she came to be very much alone.  Growing up on her father's estate after his death Enola is left to her own devices with little supervision from her mother and no contact with her much older brothers. On her 14th birthday her mother goes missing and Enola calls in help but finds it not to her liking.  Unraveling the clues to her mother's disappearance Enola discovers the tools to aid her own escape from being sent to finishing school.  On the way she is embroiled in the disappearance of a missing noble.  In order to  maintain her newfound independence she must outwit the villains, Scotland Yard and the cunning all seeing eye of her brother Sherlock, the  most famous detective in the world.

I really enjoyed Enola.  The book is a first person narrative from her point of view.  At the beginning she is scared and uncertain.  However, she proves to have a brilliant mind capable of strategy and great deception.  She learns a lot about life and human nature over the course of this one book and, because she is observant and processes information quickly, she is able to adjust herself accordingly and quickly.  She is a girl who fights when she has to but mostly  uses her wits to see her through.  The book's supporting characters are also well written.  Even the missing marquess, who is in the book very little, is given surprising depth (I really hope he shows up again in later volumes).  I very much enjoyed the portrayal of Sherlock as well.

The first half of the book covers the mystery of Enola's missing mother and helps the reader to become acquainted with Enola and the world in which she lives.  The other half of the book is more of an adventure story involving Enola's escape from the dooms of finishing school and her entanglement with the missing marquess.  The whole thing is  interesting, paced well and Enola's observations on life make for humorous and quick reading.

Nancy Springer did a wonderful job describing Victorian England.  From the docks and slums of London's East End to the ridiculous practices of the upper class, this book has it covered.  There is not a shiny gloss put over anything here.   The prostitution, poverty and lawlessness of the East End are mentioned.  There is an allusion in the prologue to the work of Jack the Ripper (the book takes place in 1888).  The type of clothes women of the upper class had to wear and the restrictions put on girls of this time are well detailed.  The popular view of women as witless and fragile is espoused by Sherlock and his brother several times.  Enola's father was a rationalist and Darwin is mentioned as one of his favorite writers.  Enola's mother is active in the struggling movement for women's suffrage.  Pretty much every angle and aspect of  Victorian society is given a nod to in this book and it is done without ever being didactic.

This book is marketed for middle grade readers but is enjoyable for any age.  Teen and adult readers will enjoy it as well, especially if they like the mystery genre and are familiar with the character of Sherlock Holmes.  Advanced younger readers will probably enjoy the mystery and adventure elements, but  a lot of the rest of it will probably go over their heads.  There are intense moments when Enola is held captive some younger readers might find scary.

I am very much looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Shorter Musings MG Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads. Anya and the Dragon   by Sofiya Pasternack This book is fun. It is a book full of adventure, an obvious bad guy, some more complicated morally gray area characters, and a strong, brave heroine. It is also a book about friendships, community, and fighting for what is right. All things that usually work for me really well. While I enjoyed this, I did feel it was a little overlong and there were certain plot points at the end I didn't love. However, there were things I thought were done really well, such as Anya's Jewish faith and the idea that power needs to be challenged. In the end it was a middle of the road read for me, but it is one I will certainly be recommending to dragon and fantasy adventure lovers I know! R is for Rebel   by J. Anderson Coats This is tough because I usually really like Coats's books. I had such a hard time with this one though on so many levels. It's difficult to get into because t

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Future Favorite Friday: June 2018

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments. Two Naomis  was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I was understandably excited it's getting a sequel.  In this sequel to  Two Naomis , now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges. Trusting her gut has worked for Naomi E. all her life, and she figures that it will be an asset to her role as a Peer Mediator—until she realizes how much of the job requires the Art of Compromise, which she’s only just starting to get used to at home. Naomi Marie i

The Reece Malcolm List

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding surprised me. Enough people I trust enjoyed it so I knew I would like it, but wasn't expecting to like it as much as I do. It is a really great book that is fun and has real heart and soul too. Synopsis: Things I know about Reece Malcolm: 1. She graduated from New York University. 2. She lives in or near Los Angeles. 3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week. 4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon. 5. She’s my mother. Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much. L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love. But the

Ash & Bramble

I have established that I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. You know what else I love? Books written by Sarah Prineas. Both her MG series are great favorites of mine. When she happened to mention on Twitter long ago that she was working on a YA, I followed closely eager to read whatever the result was. Ash & Bramble  is a fabulous work of genius. (I consider Sarah a friend as well as an author I love, and she sent me the ARC I'm reviewing here.) Pin lives in the Godmother's fortress sewing clothes with the other seamstresses tasked with producing the beautiful one of a kind ballgowns the Godmother uses for her mysterious purposes. Pin has no memories of her life prior to the day she begins her work as a slave to the Godmother's will. Everything that came before is a blank nothing. While she has no memories, she is still a person with a will and a fierce defiance to live her own life. She gets a chance to plan an escape when she is used as a foot model for