A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

study in charlotteSynopsis: 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.

A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

There have been a lot of Sherlock Holmes adaptations. I don’t like very many of them. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I liked even half of them. I liked House fine (though I had to cover my eyes a lot because I’m squeamish), and I have a deep and never-ending LOVE for the BBC Sherlock series. But that’s pretty much where my love of Sherlock Holmes adaptations ends.

Still, I couldn’t resist picking up Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte. It just seemed like such an investing theory – Sherlock and Watson’s descendants, coming together at school and solving murders like their long-dead ancestors. I thought it was a good concept for a new Sherlockian series. Plus, the title is just so darn clever, and I am loathe to ignore clever wordplay. So I decided to give it a shot.

I’m glad that I did. In the end, this was a very cute story, and while there were a few things I found to be a bit trite, overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. In order to capture what I loved and didn’t I’ll be dividing this review into two categories, “A+ Deductions” or things that I found to be incredibly awesome and “dead giveaways” or things I wrinkled my nose at.

A+ Deductions:

  • Though I didn’t love them at first, I became very attached to Jamie and Charlotte. They’re an interesting pair, and I was rooting for them once they finally teamed up.
  • The plot itself was interesting, and I liked that the killer started recreating original Sherlock Holmes cases in order to try and frame Charlotte and Jamie for murder. The novel gradually gets more and more intense as the plot thickens, and there were some great edge-of-your-seat moments.
  • Jamie’s dad is a great addition to the cast, and he ended up being one of my favorite characters in the end. He’s funny and he adds something to the book that the original Holmes stories lack.

Dead Giveaways:

  • The characters were a little too much like their ancestors for my taste. I thought the story was unique, but the characters borrowed too much from the original crime-solving team. Charlotte’s older brother Miles is the spitting image of Mycroft, Charlotte is Sherlock through and through (including the addictions and everything), and Jamie couldn’t be more like Watson if he tried. They had some qualities that were there own, and their relationships fit together differently, which I liked, but I would have enjoyed even more deviation from the norm. Now, I realize that for someone who is looking for a very faithful adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes series, this wouldn’t be a problem, and it was a minor one for me, but I had to mention it.
  • On the flip side of that, there wasn’t nearly enough Moriarty in this book. The Moriarty family is mentioned quite a lot, and they do play a role in the story, but it comes too late in the game. The Moriarty we meet isn’t nearly as cunning or charming as the Moriarty I know and love. Hopefully, this is something we get more of in future books.

Ultimately, things that grated on me in the first couple of chapters, didn’t bother me by the end of the book. thanks to Cavallaro’s excellent storytelling. She was able to get my mind to stop trying to compare this story to the original Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and once I did I enjoyed A Study in Charlotte all the more. I felt it held up to the Sherlock legacy without being a direct carbon copy, and I think this could easily become a very cute YA series. I’ll definitely be interested to read the sequel when it comes out.

Rating: 4/5 stars 

Have you read A Study in Charlotte? Tell me what you thought! If you haven’t, tell me why you are/aren’t excited to read it!

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