A Study in Charlotte is an intriguing take on the Sherlock and Holmes stories. We’ve seen the legendary tale retold in so many different ways that it can be difficult to stand out. This story is well written and gives the characters new life. I grew up on Sherlock Holmes because my mom is a huge fan. I still often listen to the radio show versions of the series when it is on.
by Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Retellings, Fiction, Romance, Thriller
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John 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 enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.
Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.
Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.
James and Charlotte are products of a legacy. As the great-great-great grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson they are plagued with expectations of who they should be. When they find themselves exiled to the same American boarding school. When a fellow student ends up dead and the murderer seems to be using the old Sherlock Holmes novels as a playbook. James and Charlotte find themselves in an uneasy partnership, forced to repeat history. Is their foe a decedent of a past villain or a copycat playing a new sick game.
I particularly liked that the role of Holmes is taken on by Charlotte who is a girl. I feel like so often when I see a retelling it’s considering a change up to have Watson as the girl. Charlotte has the characteristics that make her logical to the extent she comes across emotionless. She is calculating, witty and brilliant. We get to see a slightly softer side to her when it comes to Jamie though.
Jamie goes through stages. In the beginning of the book he’s kind of just drifting through life, sent off to this school in America. Which he is bitter about and has a fantasy of what Charlotte is supposed to be like. As he gets to know her better not only is his fantasy shattered but he seems to come alive.
The plot is full of mystery and twist and turns. Mysteries inside mysteries at some points. There were points that I felt things were moving a little more sluggish than I would have liked but I still found it enjoyable. I liked the witty banter between Jamie and Charlotte as they were learning to feel the other out. The story is well written and I wonder how much plotting goes into something like this. It really took on the Holmes and Watson style. It’s just a really fun read. I loved how the original tales are mixed in.
If you enjoy mysteries and especially Sherlock Holmes in particular, I think you find this retelling enjoyable.