Title: Secret Letters Author: Leah Scheier Publication: 2012, Hyperion Summary:Inquisitive and
observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to
solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the
legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the
opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the
mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in
London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed,
Dora is left to rely on her wits—and the assistance of an attractive yet
enigmatic young detective—to save her cousin’s reputation and help
rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way....read more
Review: This debut novel shows so much potential through its gorgeous and expert diction, animated characters, and overall great sense of pacing. Dora is seemingly so plain, but holds a fiery personality in side her that will make you smile in adoring amusement. Dora's surroundings hold only a couple more characters who present themselves convincingly, but it feels enough.
One major strong point for this debut work is definitely Ms. Scheier's elegant and vivid prose, executed like a pro, I must say! The writing itself served as a wonderful foundation and medium for the creation of Dora and the storyline, however in all its fluidity and grace, it missed out on presenting a couple of very important factors of a 4-star novel, and this was what I thought to have weighed this book down.
Firstly, main characters were memorable and agile but the entrance of Peter Cartwright was stiff and confusing. To bring a new character to light takes a smooth but definite transition in the writing (well, depending on the premise), and Peter's entrance was the opposite of that. He appeared too suddenly, with little explanation that made for a rocky entrance.
Secondly, although the plot and pacing were steady and propelling for the most part, there were certain sections where the feeling of time and detailed, inner pacing was very uneven, resulting in the occasional back track read of that section for me as a reader.
Thirdly, and very importantly, there lacked a bolstered feeling of connection throughout the entire novel. Vital scenes and smaller parts as well have a bit of a disconnected feel to it overall. Being majorly based on a mystery, the uncovering of evidence and the linking was done well technically, but beneath the thin surface, it did not feel supported and therefore did not, unfortunately, give a "punch". This resulted in a slow leak of momentum that finally proved to make a mediocre sense of unity by the end of the novel.
Nevertheless, this was not a disappointing read in the least. I really did like Dora and she grew on me, as did Peter, though not as much. Even though the romance was only very (veeeeery) slightly developed for a YA novel, the relationships between the two main characters were strong and the plot itself, all smaller holes and confusions aside, was enjoyable as well. If you like a Victorian historical, I think you'll find this to be a satisfying read. However, major mystery fans looking for a strong mystery as the major backdrop may not have it live up to expectations. Ratings:✰✰✰ 3.5 Sleuthing Hoots
Final Notes:Ack, this came out rather harsh, didn't it? >_< I really did like this book. It wasn't amazing for me in terms of the mystery itself, but it definitely was a strong debut work, and the writing was absolutely lovely! I hope you guys might decide to give it a chance because it really is a pretty good read with all stronger aspects in consideration! Thanks for reading! ♡ Vivian
Hello, I'm Vivian! ❤ Welcome to my book blog, where I indulge in sharing my reviews of the numerous books that come across my literary path. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find something to your liking here.