Wednesday, August 25, 2021

ARC Review: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

Nancy Springer
Publication: Wednesday Books (August 31, 2021)

Description: Enola Holmes is back! Nancy Springer's nationally bestselling series and breakout Netflix sensation returns to beguile readers young and old in Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche.

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she's an independent young woman--after all, her name spelled backwards reads 'alone'--and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock's doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn't the truth, that she'd know--she'd feel--if her twin had died.

The Earl's note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover--or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl's wives to die suddenly and vaguely--and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl's home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl's hall, Enola is going to require help--from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Enola Holmes returns in her first adventure since the hit Netflix movie brought her back on the national bestseller lists, introducing a new generation to this beloved character and series.

My Thoughts: Enola Holmes has reconciled with her much older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft which is why Dr. Watson calls on her visit her brother Sherlock who has fallen into a deep depression after working himself to exhaustion on his latest cases. That is why she is present when a young typist named Letitia Glover comes to beg Holmes's assistance in determining what happened to her twin sister Felicity.

Miss Glover does not believe the rather odd note she received from her sister's husband Cadogan Burr Rudcliff II, Earl of Dunhench, who tells her that her sister died of some sort of fever and was cremated even though he sent along her ashes. The note raises Enola's suspicions too. Cremation is very uncommon. The lack of notice when Felicity became ill and the lack of detail also seem suspicious. Even Sherlock's interest in caught when the ashes are determined to be from a dog not a person.

Sherlock and Enola begin to investigate working both their own leads and working together. Enola has all sorts of problems because young women traveling alone with some man to assist is not at all the thing in either London or rural England. She finds herself taken advantage of by the man who rents her a very stubborn horse and cart and finds herself taking shelter with the Earl. The household is extremely odd with over-abundant signs of mourning everywhere but Felicity's rooms. In fact, Felicity has left a watercolor painting the provides a clue to the mystery. Her new husband has committed her to an insane asylum.

Now Sherlock and Enola need to find out which asylum of the hundreds of possibilities in England and rescue Felicity. Enola comes up with a complicated scheme involving Letitia impersonating Felicity to convince Felicity's husband to return her to the asylum with Sherlock tracking the carriage.

This was an engaging historical mystery with an intrepid female main character. It was filled with period details including the lack of women's rights and the horrors of asylums that were prevalent at the times. I liked the relationship between Sherlock and Enola. I liked Enola's determination to help Letitia and Felicity. I liked that the Prologue and the Epilogue were both from Sherlock's point of view and voice while the rest of the story was in Enola's voice. 

Favorite Quote:
As she crossed the room, she looked curiously at the supine figure on the settee, and I smiled. "I assure you, Miss Glover, you need pay no heed to my catatonic brother. In his present state he is harmless, ans as deaf as the driftwood he resembles."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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