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.


Popular posts from this blog

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?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein