a study in charlotte // review

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Title: A Study in Charlotte

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

No. of pages: 321

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Date Read: November 2, 2017

  • First in a series


“What did you find?” I asked, finally. “What was that thing you put in your pocket?”

She didn’t look at me. “Let’s get back,” she said. I tried not to look at the square outline of the thing in her jacket, and started the car.

We didn’t talk. Instead, I turned on the radio as Holmes peered silently out the window. The passing streetlights washed her face blank and bright.

I couldn’t tell you what was in her head. I couldn’t even guess. But I was beginning to realize I liked that, the not knowing. I could trust her despite it. If she was a place unto herself, I might have been lost, blindfolded, and cursing my bad directions, but I think I saw more of it than anyone else, all the same. (Cavallaro 98)


Although I finished this book, I’m still not quite sure what to think about it. While reading it, I was kind of all over the board with emotions. Starting off, it struck a bad chord with me and I didn’t think I was going to finish, and then I finished it and it was okay… still iffy.

A Study in Charlotte, a contemporary retelling of the tales of Holmes and Watson, certainly lives up to the characters that they are based on. Jamie Watson is compassionate, loving, easy to warm to, and loyal to a fault. Charlotte Holmes is mysterious, manipulative, careful in words and actions, and on occasion shows a bit of emotion.

While reading, it was hard to get through the romanticized idolism that Jamie had built of Charlotte. Though those expectations fall flat of reality, and Jamie acknowledges that, he still felt like he was at fault and guilty of not trusting or being cautious when it was clear that he was totally okay to have such notions.

I think that my favorite part about this book is the character and relational development. Jamie, Charlotte, Mr. Watson, Tom, and Lena were so well developed and grew as the story went on, that it was hard to say goodbye to the characters at the end of the book. For me, the mystery was well written, and the plot development was great, but again, there was just something off for me that I couldn’t get past.

Will I read another book from this series: possibly, maybe. But it won’t be the first thing I pick up next.

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