Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: March 1 (Today!)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Katherine Tegen Books on Edelweiss (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
James Watson, descendant of that John Watson, has recently transferred to a private school in America, the same school as Charlotte Holmes, Sherlock’s descendant. The pair become fast friends when they’re framed for another student’s murder. Together they follow in their great-great-great-grandfathers’ paths and start investigating the murder on their own.
I really enjoyed this book a lot, and as a fan of the show Sherlock I thought it really brought a lot of the same charm and chemistry to the characters that the show does as well. The strength of this book is in the chemistry between Charlotte and James, and in the depth of the mystery, which never gets out of hand and beyond the author’s abilities to really keep under control. I was a big fan of Ellie Marney’s Every Breath and honestly I think I might be even more fond of this book.
Charlotte and Jamie’s relationship is not particularly developed at the beginning of the book, and really Cavallaro does not need to put much effort into the development of their relationship because as a reader you already understand how a Holmes and a Watson should be with each other. On top of that, Jamie has built up this version of Charlotte in his mind since childhood which allows him, and you, to just be in love with Charlotte as a person and to feel so connected to her already without really knowing her. In Jamie’s mind the pair have been adventuring together since childhood and you get the sense that they’re just meant to be friends. This immediate connection reads very well in the book, and you don’t even question that this pair would of course be best friends and do everything together upon meeting.
The mystery felt well developed and interesting to me. There were several layers to the mystery that were not easy to guess, and really I never quite figured it all out myself, though I did have a few guesses (a lot of them wrong) it was great to have Jamie and Charlotte both adding something different to the understanding of the mystery. (A little spoilery so skip to the next paragraph) It seems a little too obvious to have the villain of this whole plot be who it is, I suppose it only makes sense to have it be them but it also just feels ultimately too obvious.
One thing about this story that I think makes it a little more successful is that while there is an element of romance it isn’t so much in the forefront. In Every Breath the romance became very much a focus in the book, the pair became very romantically involved by the end of it. In this book the romance is a little more subtle and less of a focus by the end of the book. I think this works a little better because it doesn’t create too much unnecessary tension between Charlotte and Jamie that gets in the way of that very well written friendship.
I really enjoyed this book, something I didn’t really expect. As much as I enjoy these sorts of modern Sherlock Holmes adaptations I do think they’re a bit bandwagon-y and it makes me hesitant to read them or enjoy them, but I think this one was great and I enjoyed it a lot.