I love when I get to read older backlist books that have so much hype. I’d been hearing about this Sherlock Holmes reimagining for a while now, but when Chloe Gong recommended it for my 12 Authors 12 Books series I took it as a sign. A Study in Charlotte is fun and I need to read the rest. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
TW: drug use, drug abuse, drug addiction, rape
Okay so I was ready for a very cute teen Sherlock Holmes and Watson mystery. But while half of that sentence is true – indeed it is Holmes and Watson – it was more realistic and gritty than I expected. I ended up really enjoying that aspect because it felt more faithful to the addiction and to the mental state of Sherlock Holmes you see in most adaptations. While I haven’t read the originals, I’ve seen probably every recent adaptation – my favorite is “Elementary” with the amazing Lucy Liu by the way – I can deduce common themes.
So while it wasn’t what I was expecting, I ended up enjoying it. Additionally, A Study in Charlotte takes place in a world where they are descendants so they are aware of the legacies. With reimaginings, I’m always curious to see if these infamous figures will know about themselves. At times it feels very meta and that was a hidden element I enjoyed greatly. But coming back to the heart of the story, in A Study in Charlotte I enjoyed witnessing the forming of Holmes and Watson.
I feel like in the recent adaptations I’d read, Sherlock Holmes and Watson were more or less quickly put together. Almost like a piece of fate or foregone conclusion. And while there’s that element in A Study in Charlotte – even with a meta cheeky twist – they spend more time deliberating. Getting to know each other as people, their lies and tells, and their vulnerabilities. A Study in Charlotte portrays their push and pull, their arguments, and the friendship forms in front of our eyes.
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There are predictably action and adventures, scrapes you aren’t sure if they will get out, and threads which will establish future books. But where I wasn’t expecting to find it, A Study in Charlotte ended up making me care more about who Charlotte and Jamie behind their names. Them as characters and people separate and interconnected with their names. As someone who loves a good mystery series, I am very excited to read more! I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you love Sherlock Holmes and mystery stories, this is a must read. Find A Study in Charlotte on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.