Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade by Nancy Springer brings together Sherlock Holmes and his much younger sister Enola in a teen / young adult historical mystery set in and around London in late 1889.
The author blends suspense, a bold protagonist, and humor in this latest case for Enola. There are several previous books in this series, but this one worked well as a standalone. Unlike Sherlock, she isn’t fully practicing as a finder of missing persons and things. She’s taking classes at the London Women’s Academy. All of this is very unusual for a young woman in Victorian England.
However, when she visits her friend’s home she is told that no one is allowed inside and that neither her friend, Lady Cecily Alistair, nor her mother, Lady Theodora, is entertaining callers. Aware that something is not right; Enola helps Lady Cecily escape and takes her to a secret office in a boarding house she owns. However, Sherlock Holmes hired by Lady Theodora shows up looking for Lady Cecily and she has disappeared without Enola having a clue as to where she has gone. Additionally, Lady Cecily suffers from dual personalities; one is strong and independent while the other is meek and docile.
Enola is a likeable character; she is witty, thoughtful, outgoing, smart, independent, spirited, and a master of disguises. She also stands by her friends and won’t let anything stop her from helping them. How she and Sherlock think and analyze situations is fun to see unfold. The chemistry between them creates an entertaining dynamic.
The book has a solid plot, and the character development was great to watch. The story was thought provoking as I thought about the treatment of women and the lack of rights they possessed during the era. The historical references on this and other topics added a significant layer of interest to the plot. The conflict moves the story forward and through unexpected twists. The internal dialogues pulled me into the inner world of the characters.
The author does a good job of world-building. I was able to easily visualize the settings, the people, the clothing, and the homes. The atmosphere felt right for the times resulting in a strong sense of time and place. She effortlessly weaved themes of family, friendship, lifestyle, loneliness, treatment and expectations of women, abuse, and money into the plot.
Overall, this book was an engaging, captivating, and enjoyable historical mystery that moved at a quick pace. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Readers that enjoy young adult historical mysteries will likely enjoy this series.
St. Martin’s Press – Wednesday Books and Nancy Springer provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for September 06, 2022.