Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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A Study in Charlotte Summary

Cover of A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
“I wanted the two of us to be complicated together, to be difficult and engrossing and blindingly brilliant.”

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

        But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

A Study in Charlotte Review

    When I began this book, I had different expectations.  I had heard so many good things about A Study in Charlotte that I jumped right on in without reading much on it, and I hadn’t realized that the main characters were literally supposed to be the descendants of the original Holmes and Watson.  (Silly of me, considering it is right there in the blurb.)  I personally have never been a big fan of adding to the original author’s work, and had expected something more like a retelling.  But please take my opinion on this with a grain of salt, as I do have some wonderful things to say about it.

“I wanted the two of us to be complicated together, to be difficult and engrossing and blindingly brilliant.”

    A Study in Charlotte ended up being a delightful summer read.  It was fun and as over-the-top as you would expect a mystery novel or film to be, with plenty of excitement and intrigue.  It is not a novel to be taken too seriously, as there is a lot of suspension of disbelief involved in this reading, as you can tell from even the premise of both Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes somehow ending up at the same boarding school and becoming best friends.

    I personally disliked the character of Charlotte, but the gender-swap done here is a fascinating idea and equally interesting to read.  It obviously sets out to be a feminist retelling of the classic story, one that I believe succeeds.  I also appreciated how Cavallaro didn’t shy away from serious subject matters in her novel (drug use and sexual assault being the two primary occurrences), but also didn’t zero in on them as some authors might do, acknowledging that they are a part of life for some and not the whole story.

    I would recommend this book to those looking for a fun summer or back-to-school read, given the private boarding school background.  I would say this is a great novel for high-school-aged teens, because it does discuss some serious subject matter, though it isn’t particularly explicit so I believe it would also be suitable for younger readers with a bit more maturity.

Best,

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