Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A STUDY IN SILKS by Emma Jane Holloway

Publisher:  Del Rey
Published:   September 24, 2013
Genre:   Fantasy, Steampunk
Book format:  Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher   
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Evelina Cooper has quite the family history with a well-known circus troupe on one side and Sherlock Holmes on the other.  While she allowed her Grandmamma Holmes to take her away from the so-called less savory side of her family, Evelina has a host of talents to recommend her: a scientific mind and a gift of magic.  Okay, so those attributes aren’t the most popular for a Victorian woman to possess and especially in a world where magic is forbidden.  School was a struggle for her not because of her intelligence but because of where she came from.  That was, until, she was befriend by the daughter of a peer, Imogen Roth.  Now she resides at Hilliard House as a guest of Imogen’s.  She is pleased to be there but as ever she lives with a foot in two worlds.  Making her life at Hilliard House all the more interesting is Imogen’s brother, Tobias.  Tobias is most definitely a man of his times—or rather a classic rake of his time.   But beneath the image a ne'er-do-well philanderer, Tobias is actually a caring and rather intelligent man.  He also finds himself quite attracted to Evelina.

Not all is well about town though.  The carefully constructed world of the Roths’ and their friends is about to come tumbling down.  It begins with the murder of a housemaid moments after Tobias innocently spirits her into the house one evening.  Or as it all that innocent.

Evelina is once again torn between helping her friend and the family she lives with and desire to find Grace’s murderer.  She considers what her famous Uncle would do and toys with asking his advice on the one hand and on the other she very much wants to solve the crime on her own.  But magic is as magic does…and a dark magic looms.  Can she find the killer without losing her own life?

The moment I saw “Sherlock Holmes niece” written in the blurb for A STUDY IN SILKS by Emma Jane Holloway I had to read it. I’m a huge Conan Doyle / Sherlock Holmes fan and I do like a strong female heroine.  While billed as a romance, A STUDY IN SILKS is also a wonderful mystery and I do like a good mystery.  The romance tends toward sweet – but not that overwhelming where you feel like you’ve had a sugar overload.  It has a nice pace to it and the tension of which man she will choose develop over the course of the story.  It is neither rushed or overpowering.  It lulls the reader in with taste and style.

I liked Ms. Holloway’s characters from the very beginning—even the nasty nefarious ones because they were so fun to hate.  It was so very nice to see at least one of the bad guys get his due and in such style!

The magic and science aspects were woven together in a nice, believable blend.  At 531 pages there is time to get to know each character and become completely involved in the story.  There were a few places the story lagged—but it quickly picked up.  One thing I really enjoyed is the way Ms. Holloway turns a phrase.  Some of her quips were so funny I laughed out loud.  She has a wonderful way of storytelling.  I’m looking forward to book 2, A STUDY IN DARKNESS.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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