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Secret Letters

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,130 ratings  ·  212 reviews
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 devast...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Disney-Hyperion
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Read more of my reviews at Dazzling Reads

As a big fan of Y.S.Lee and The Agency series, I HAD to read Secret Letters by Leah Scheier as soon as I got it! With that said, I don't think I need to mention that Secret Letters is a Victorian mystery. So, let's jump into my thoughts about this novel right now!

Plot: The premise of a young girl whose father is the most remarkable detective in England immediately grabbed my attention. Secret Letters is in fact an intriguing Victorian mystery that hooked...more
Arabella  Adrienne
4.5 stars.

(The only reason I took off a half-star is because I'm not a huge fan of illicit love affairs. But as long as that's all there is, I can overlook that - and I have to LOVE everything else in the book, which indeed I did.)


This is the only book that has ever made me laugh out loud while reading. It wasn't classified as a comedy, but a certain PETER CARTWRIGHT was hilarious at times. I definitely wasn't expecting that - an added bonus.

AND, I cried at the end. Not nece...more
I absolutely love this author! Leah is probably one of the kindest that I have run across since I have been blogging! Her writing is just as sweet as her nature. She took a storyline with a Sherlock twist and made it a masterpiece. When an author takes an already well known piece of literature like Sherlock Holmes or any fairy tale, they are taking a chance in retelling it. All of the classics are already great so to rewrite one with a modern day twist or even a spin off in any context or genre...more
I love Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes retellings.
If they are done right.
Enola Holmes is a wonderful series. The Baker Street Irregulars amused me as a kid. The Sherlockians was full of entertaining short stories.
But Sherlcok Holmes as a Father? Really??
I just can't see it. I refuse to believe one of the greatest detectives in history was made into a melodramatic bachelor because the girl he loved married another man. No. It is to cliche.
Secret Letters really wasn't a bad book. In fact, as...more
As a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was very intrigued by the premise of this novel. I want to be honest in saying that I did not finish it. Of what I did read, I found the writing to be very heavy-handed (lots of telling rather than showing). The first chapter, in particular, felt very rushed - with little introduction to the protagonist as a character, readers are swept up to Baker St., awkwardly dumped with all sorts of background information that would have been more interesting if it had bee...more
Leah Scheier
May 06, 2012 Leah Scheier rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Author's review:
Well, I wrote it. I thought of giving it a low star rating just to confuse people but I just couldn't do it. I love my little debut novel and I hope you will too.
Clare Cannon
Aug 24, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 14+ (females)

A Sherlock Holmes inspiration that's impossible to put down. As I became intrigued by the developing mystery I just hoped that the story would be worthwhile, but soon I was so captivated by the two main characters that even if the story was average I knew I'd need to spend more time with them.

The story was good, though not quite superb (and with such great characters, it really could have been!). The problem wasn't the scandals from the past, they were handled much like they are in the classics...more
Soarin Soraya
Secret Letters is the type of story that has been lacking lately, in my opinion. We see all these mysteries solved by young women thanks to some supernatural force but almost never with their own wit. And that, that right there is where Secret Letters swoops in and steals the show. Dora’s thoughts are quick and precise, her dialogue so snappy that the reader can’t help but feel proud of the observations and comebacks as if they were their own. The characters leap from the page with an instant c...more
First of all, thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC for me to review. Second...I absolutely loved this book!

The story is basically a Sherlock Holmes tale for a younger demographic and aimed more at the girl side of things. While told in a classic mystery style, the main character, Dora, is a young woman. Though it takes place in Victorian London, Dora defies society's norms to help a fellow detective catch murderer. The style of the Holmes novels is kept throughout the story. Secret Letter...more
Brandy Painter
2.5 stars

Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier was a book I couldn't refuse. It involves Sherlock Holmes after all, and I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. I did enjoy the mystery element of the story even though I had some issues with the book overall.

The mystery part of the story was a lot of fun. There is more than one Secret Letter floating around in the plot. So many that one of the characters (the "attractive yet enigmatic young detective") make...more
Cheryl A
With a beautiful cover and an enticing blub, this title screamed "read me", so I did. I'm a big fan of Victorian mysteries and really enjoy the young adult genre, so I was looking forward to this debut work.

Fifteen year old Dora Joyce is a orphan who discovered upon her mother's death bed that her biological father was none other than the famous Sherlock Holmes. When her cousin, Adelaide, is blackmailed over old love letters, Dora convinces her to engage Mr. Holmes to find the culprit. Unfortuna...more

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 s...more
Dora dreams of escaping her rule filled society life. She dreams of traveling to London and working to help solve mysteries. Dora also has a secret, she is the daughter of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. She finds herself traveling to London to meet with him about a case involving her cousin, who is being blackmailed. When she arrives however she learns that Holmes has been killed in Switzerland. Now Dora must deal with the loss of a father she never knew and find her place in society. She...more
Sep 06, 2012 Julie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 12+
I picked this book up because I was intrigued by the premise that Dora, the protagonist, is traveling to London to look up her possible biological father, Sherlock Holmes. I love Sherlock Holmes and a good Victorian mystery, but unfortunately, several pages into the book Dora learns that Sherlock Holmes has died (drowned by a waterfall, no less), and then the reader never hears mention of him again throughout the rest of the book. That was disappointing.

This novel started out strong, but lost st...more
I'm not going to rate this, because I had a lot of problems with it, but those were mostly my own, due to the fact that we had a mini-section on Holmes intertexts in Reading History in Children's Books. We looked at Andrew Lane's Young Sherlock series and Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes books, so the (possible) daughter would have fit right in there. I have to say that I think each of the series we considered did a better job of the tailoring of the canonical Holmes to child readers today than Sch...more
Thank you to NetGalley for making this book available.

Anyone who loves mysteries and Victorian England will love this book.(You know who you are.)

Dora believes that her biological father is Sherlock Holmes. She finally travels to meet him at the exact time that his death is announced. She has always loved the art of observation and detecting. She begins working with a young man that she meets in front of Sherlock Holmes' home to find the person who stole love letters from her cousin and is now...more
Lynne Stringer
I enjoyed Secret Letters. It was an entertaining story about a girl in Sherlock Homes' day who aspires to be a detective. I liked Dora and enjoyed her interplay with Peter.
The only thing I found a little unbelievable was that Lord Victor would pull this girl in the window when she was dangling from a tree outside his bedroom window and not ask any questions about why she was there! While he may have been distracted by the situation he was in, it seemed a bit unrealistic that he wouldn't at leas...more
Great eye catching cover! Grabs readers attention! Secret Letters is a great novel and is sure to please any age reader. It will be great for my middle school age kids looking for a good mystery. It’s hard to find a good mystery and this one is sure to fit the bill. The main character Dora is a great fun character that many readers would love to trade places with for a day while reading Secret Letters. If anyone likes Sherlock Holmes this is a great story to recommend to them. Over all a very go...more
Viviana Macias
This book is about a young teenage girl who is sort of out of place in her high society environment. Everyone expects her to be sophisticated and ladylike, but instead she is quick-witted and likes to investigate crimes. Through a series of events she ends up going undercover to investigate who is her cousins blackmailer and where a kidnapped girl is. This book would be appropriate for middle schoolers through high school sophomores since it is a relatively simple book. It took me about a day or...more
Secret letters is a book that combines comedy,romance,mystery and historical fiction into a fascinating tale! It is just perfect. I loved every word, sentence and page. It also got my brain juice flowing because the mystery is so intricate. For example just when you know it has got to be this so and so culprit at the same time it could also be another so and so criminal. Readers should rest assure because you do not have to be a fan of certain genres to enjoy this book, you just have to be a fan...more
Beth G.
I knew that Adelaide would wish to visit the detective and present her case to him as soon as possible. And I would be there by her side, of course, to support her as she told her story. But I had my own reason for visiting Mr. Holmes and my own story to tell him, and so I had to reach him before she did -- and I had to speak to him alone.

Since losing both parents to typhoid fever four years ago, Dora Joyce has lived with her Aunt Ina, a very proper Victorian matron determined to mold...more
Ok, I really liked this book (I think mostly because it takes place in England in the late 19th, early 20th century... LOVE!) Also because involved an evasive, mysterious detective guy. 'Secret Letters' is the story of Sherlock Holmes' illegitimate daughter attempting to solve intertwined mysteries to save her Aunt and others from scandal. I think the author did a good job making her first novel unpredictable and engaging way.
Dora Joyce, from an upstanding family, wishes to become a private investigator. She gets her chance when her loving cousin is blackmailed, and Dora, hoping to consult the famous Sherlock Holmes but meeting the enigmatic Peter Cartwright instead, goes undercover as a housemaid. Recommended for fans of The Agency.
Personally, I wanted to love this book. A daughter of Sherlock Holmes, who thinks likes him and is curious? How fascinating. Instead, I get a clueless girl who likes to close the door a lot on many people, especially at the end of each chapter. Miss Dora Joyce, (I hope that's her name), is nothing like Sherlock Holmes. She can't deduce or anything. I think that Dora is very one dimensional, it's been a while since I've picked up this book, (and put it down the next day), and to me she seemed lik...more
May 24, 2012 Bre marked it as to-read
This book looks really interesting! And I'm open to the whole idea of Sherlock Holmes having a daughter. Afterall, I fell for the child thing in the Mary Russell series. Neat looking cover and I'd definately love to read this, so I entered the ARC contest. :D
Dora is a seventeen year old orphan who travels to London to meet Sherlock Holmes. She has found a letter written by her mother that points to Mr. Holmes as Dora's real father. Upon her arrival she is devastated to learn of Holmes' death. She does meet Peter Cartwright, a young detective who works for a Mr. Porter. The fact that the younger Cartwright is a better detective than his boss is soon evident. They are called to work on the case of a missing heiress, Lady Rose Hartfield, and Dora goes...more
Jeni Enjaian
This book could have been so much better. In fact, when I first started reading it, I was inclined to give it a much higher rating that the one star that I did give it. (In this case, it's an actual 1 star rating, not a 1 star rating because there's nothing lower rating.)
The premise, a daughter of Sherlock Holmes who travels to London to meet him only to discover news of his death at Reichenbach Falls, holds so much promise. That one bit I just referenced also happened to be the high point of th...more
Headstrong and clever, sixteen-year-old Dora is not about to act the proper Victorian lady. She would much rather solve mysteries like her idol Sherlock Holmes. When a blackmailer threatens her beloved cousin's happy marriage, Dora heads off with her cousin to London to consult the great Sherlock Holmes. Dora is excited and even nervous to meet the great detective; not just because he is her idol, but because he is also her biological father. Upon arriving on Holmes' doorstep, Dora learns that S...more
Michelle Arrow
Sherlock Holmes has always interested me. He truly is a remarkable detective, and the BBC hit TV show, Sherlock, is also a stunning modern retelling. I was very excited to begin reading this Sherlock retelling. Not many authors choose to write about this, so it's something new and unique to read. Besides, I've been reading too many science-fiction and chick-lit novels. This was a break out of everything and the usual.
Here comes the boom. I really didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I woul...more
I was captivated by the summary of the book - an alternate universe where Sherlock has a crime solving daughter?! Sign me up!

However, I was a bit put off by the "romance" bit from the reviews on the back of the book, and that when I started reading, Dora wasn't going to delve further into Sherlock's life, and he is only mentioned a bit throughout the book.

But I'm glad I continued reading! Dora is a strong, perceptive, witty heroine, and does have times where she's human, which allows the reader...more
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Leah Scheier was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. As a child, she was inspired by her favorite authors, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lloyd Alexander, and C.S. Lewis to dream up tales of adventure and romance. Now grown up with daughters of her own, Leah works as a pediatrician and continues to create new stories.
Her first novel, SECRET LETTERS, came out 6/26/12 (Hyperion/Disney). Her second novel, YOUR V...more
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