Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Lady Sherlock #1

A Study in Scarlet Women

Rate this book
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

323 pages, Paperback

First published October 18, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sherry Thomas

39 books6,360 followers
USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided years ago that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, young adult, and three books inspired by the martial arts epics she grew up devouring. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio.

A Study in Scarlet Women, A Conspiracy in Belgravia, and The Hollow of Fear, the first three entries in her gender-bending Lady Sherlock historical mystery series, are all NPR best books of the year. The Magnolia Sword, her 2019 release, is the first young adult retelling of the original Ballad of Mulan in the English language.

Sherry emigrated from China at age 13 and English is her second language.

“Sherry Thomas has done the impossible and crafted a fresh, exciting new version of Sherlock Holmes. From the carefully plotted twists to the elegant turns of phrase, A Study in Scarlet Women is a splendid addition to Holmes’s world. This book is everything I hoped it would be, and the next adventure cannot come too soon!” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

“Thomas weaves a lush, intricate fantasy world around a gorgeous romance that kept me riveted until the very last page. What a breathtaking journey!” (Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series )

"Sherry Thomas is the most powerfully original historical romance author writing today."—Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

Visit Sherry at her website

Follow Sherry on twitter

Find Sherry on Facebook

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
8,313 (25%)
4 stars
14,321 (43%)
3 stars
8,025 (24%)
2 stars
1,495 (4%)
1 star
495 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,740 reviews
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 10 books7,510 followers
March 20, 2019

I fucking loved this book.

Like, hard.

Like, hard enough that the first time I read it, it cured my Goodreads slump and prompted me to come running back to this sometimes toxic wasteland of book drama to talk about it.

Before you get all excited and think, "MAYBE I TOO WILL LOVE THIS BOOK", you should know that for some reason I seem to be in the minority. Most of the popular reviews for this are negative, and I honestly didn't even read them, because I didn't want to, so I have no idea why.

Suffice to say, not everyone likes this book. And that's fine.


The first thing you should know is that I have a long attention span. I grew up on Dumas and Dickens - those glorious windbags - so books that linger on details and delve into the day to day aspects of the lives of the characters in them, ESPECIALLY when those details concern the minutiae of a historic time period, really get my bookish rocks off.

This book has a lot of that. It's a slow burn mystery, and a slow burn character study.

It's also bursting with feminism, which, if you've read any of my rants, you'll know that I tend to focus on...a bit.

Yes, there is the whole gender switch of Sherlock Holmes and the main support characters, but there's so much more than that. This novel gently subverts so many of the misogynistic themes found in books written and/or set in this time period, and I just loved every subtle second of it.

As much as I harp on about feminism, I don't always want to be beaten about the head by feminist themes. Too much of that and a book can start to feel preachy and heavy handed. This was the perfect amount of subversive 'fuck the patriarchy'.

Oh yes, also brilliantly plotted and beautifully written, but, knowing Sherry Thomas' works as I do, I wouldn't expect anything less from her.

I can't recommend this enough for fans of the classics. Or anyone wanting a slower paced, character-centric mystery set in a world so rich, it'll make you forget about the shitshow we're currently living in.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
May 22, 2021
Do not undervalue what you are ultimately worth because you are at a momentary disadvantage.
In a time where women were were frequently told to sit down and shut up, Charlotte Holmes has always been...peculiar.

She's not dainty, delicate and definitely not demure. Her deeply inquisitive mind sets her at a disadvantage.

Her life will be miserable if she lets her parents have their way. So, she does the unthinkable.
Worrying about outcomes over which I have no control is punishing myself before the universe has decided whether I ought to be punished.
She finds a man with loose enough morals to sleep with her - thus rendering her an unpure heathen.

So, in a time where this could honestly be the end of her, she uses her parents' outright disgust and humiliation to her advantage. She leaves home - hoping to find employment with no experience and no recommendations.

Meanwhile a rash of murders confuses the whole of England - except for one Sherlock Holmes. He's sickly man writes in his brilliant intuitions and is quickly becoming essential to the police.

What no one knows, Sherlock is Charlotte. She knows that no one would even take a second look if she made the assertions as a woman so she adopts a make persona for crime solving.

Just when things become the most desperate for Charlotte, she meets a widowed Mrs. Watson and soon the dynamic duo is born.

While I liked the idea of this one, it fell flat.

I had a hard time connecting to the characters and getting into the mystery. Perhaps it's because we are given many, many perspectives for such a short book. Or maybe it's because despite the plethora of lords and ladies, no one sparked my interest.

I was a bit disappointed in this reincarnation. Charlotte Holmes is a peacock - always preening over her laces and ruffles.

She loves food but is constantly monitoring the state of her double-chin (having calculated the exact size that it could still appear endearing). Reading about that the first time was amusing... the fourth time not so much.

Like many Sherlock interpretations, Charlotte swears off love, is socially incompetent and has a brilliant mind. YET she finds attraction with a childhood friend, makes brilliant assumptions regarding social clues and sometimes misses the obvious.

All in all, this was a fair interpretation of the Sherlock series but the problem is...after the brilliance of the BBC Sherlock, all other interpretations seem dull in comparison.
I often question your actions, but rarely your reasoning. And this isn't one of those rare instances.
Audiobook Comments
Read by Kate Reading - who does a very good narration of this novel. Whenever I find an audio by her, I can't help but smile - her last name is perfect.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,108 reviews2,793 followers
December 30, 2020
A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas (Author), Kate Reading (Narrator)

In a twist on the Sherlock Holmes stories, A Study in Scarlet Women has Charlotte Holmes solving crimes under the name of Sherlock Holmes, with the help of Mrs. Watson and Charlotte's married "don't touch, just look" love, Lord Ingram. Charlotte is determined to earn enough money solving crimes that she will be able to support herself and her two sisters for life, thus removing their dependence on any man. Inspector Treadles, through Lord Ingram, who knows that Sherlock Holmes is really Charlotte Holmes, provides Charlotte with information about crimes while she uses her skills in deduction to solve the crimes. This setup is so successful that, by the end of the first book, requests for more crime solving comes from parts far and wide. 

For this first book in the series, Inspector Treadles spends a good deal of time doing the footwork on a case concerning three deaths that are suspected murders. Although I would rather spend more time with Charlotte, Mrs. Watson, and Charlotte's sister, Livia, I grew fond of Inspector Treadles manner. The man adores his wife and considers her his equal or more in their marriage and I think he's very good at his job, even if he needs assistance from Holmes. Then there is Lord Ingram, in a loveless marriage of convenience, fending off (badly and without too great of a fight) Charlotte's insistence that he take her on as his mistress. I don't think Charlotte gets her way any time soon but it's obvious she's not one to give up on what she wants in life. 

I enjoyed the characters who will be regulars in the series much more than I enjoyed the investigating and deducing of the mystery. Frankly, I would have been happy to have the abbreviated version of the crime solving when it came to anything doing with the murder case. There were too many people, too many places, too many twists and turns for the case to be very interesting to me. Kate Reading did a fine job of narrating the story but the long spells of relating the "this and thats" and "who did whats" of the case came close to turning my brain to mush. So this first venture with Charlotte Holmes gets a 3.5 stars bumped up to 4 stars. I already have the second audio in this series ready to go. I am hoping that Charlotte can play a bigger part in the story, from here on out, rather than being left behind while Inspector Treadle does so much of the footwork. 

Published October 18, 2016
Profile Image for Simona B.
892 reviews2,986 followers
December 1, 2020
I read this with my book fairies/partners in crime (I can rightfully say that, given the case) Vira (a simple "thank you" is not enough <3), Nastassja and Katerina.

"Do not undervalue what you are ultimately worth because you are at a momentary disadvantage."

•I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes if you've ever met one. I'm gravely obsessed. I read all the books (four) and all the short stories (fifty-six) and I die of excitement whenever I see (any version of) him on tv, whatever the series/movie. Then I resurrect and start obsessing all over again. So, were my expectations exaggerated? Probably. But as always, I will try to be as reasonable as I can.

•Big problem number one: Charlotte. She started bothering me from the very beginning, and I realized it immediately. What I didn't realize until much later was why, but after some hard reasoning that involved much trial and error, I put my finger on it: she's inconsistent with herself. Some readers have put forward the theory that Charlotte could be autistic, and I would like that explanation very, very much, but as far as I know (please do contradict me if I'm mistaken) the author never said anything definite in this regard, and besides, what I'm talking about here is a problem of how the character is rendered in the narrative, not how the character is. It feels weird and unbelievable that she is supposed to be this astronomical genius, but then the most obvious things elude her. For instance, she is downright shocked when Mrs. Watson points out to her that she could use her "powers of discernment" to earn her living, and, in spite of the fact that this is exactly what happens to her in the book, she doesn't seem to understand that spreading bad rumors about a person may ruin her reputation once and for all until someone else remarks on that. When a crime is involved, however, she goes back to being brilliant and all-seeing. It's not that she simply is less generally capable in a social context: she seems to activate her brain, understanding even what is related to sociality, only when a crime or an enigma is involved. And this didn't feel believable. I'm absolutely no expert, but maybe these may seem like an atypical pattern even for someone who falls on the autistic spectrum? I'm terrified of being insensitive and I don't have any intention of doing that, so I'll stop here. Just note that I'm taking issue here with how the narrative represents the character, not with what the character is per se (that would be idiotic).

The crime. Now, I'm a nut for crime novels. Lately, moreover, I find myself in this very odd phase when I can bring myself to read with sincere interest only crime novels--Agatha Christie is my current best friend. In A Study in Scarlet Women, not only was the investigation slow-paced and rather unchallenging, it was also led by a character about whom you couldn't care less. Treadles is cute and nice, yes, but I don't care. He's as dull as his investigation. There's nothing wrong with him in himself, he just doesn't work, certainly not up to Thomas's standard.

•As a consequence to Treadles's predominance, Charlotte seems to be a guest in her own book. When that happens to a main character, it's never a good thing.

The ending was actually nice, though it felt somehow anticlimactic to me. It was interesting how the victim's image was completely overturned -but if I wanted to be very fastidious, I could point out that his overturning was far too complete. I am never trusting when a shift from good to bad seems so radical. (Yes, Tamlin, I may be talking a little bit about you.)

➽ Surprise surprise, I am disappointed. A Study in Scarlet Women is not a bad book, but I think it would be wise not to start it expecting to find that masterpiece of aloofness, brilliance and social ineptitude that is the original Sherlock Holmes. If you listen to this advice, you will probably be more successful than I was.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,025 reviews58.9k followers
July 16, 2021
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas is a 2016 Berkley publication.

Charlotte Holmes never wanted the traditional life of marriage and children. Her plan to save herself from such a fate left her in ruins, kicked out of society, and onto the streets, to fend for herself.

When three deaths occur in quick succession, Charlotte’s sister and father are prime suspects. Charlotte, with the help of her new widowed companion, a police inspector, and an old love interest, launches her own investigation, under the presumed name of Sherlock Holmes.

While Charlotte must continue to adhere to societal norms, her alter ego opens doors and passageways for her to bypass those limitations, allowing her to solidify the uncanny reputation of the great detective- Sherlock Holmes…

I read the fourth installment in this series a while back and became an instant fan, despite not knowing the entire backstory. The hints about Charlotte’s past compelled me to read the previous three installments before tackling the fifth installment. I’m so glad I did!

There are so many various Sherlock Holmes pastiches out there, some good, some not- but I always think it wise to approach such an artistic liberty with a legendary character with some skepticism. I see that the author has been quite respectful of Holmes’ observation skills, and has Charlotte expound on how she came to have such an unusual, almost spooky, talent. Thomas cleverly, and skillfully, flips the genders of familiar characters, which is absolute genius, and works beautifully!

In Charlotte’s first case, she gets a crash course in real life, learns some painful truths about her parents, and manages to solve three murders. I have a little more insight into Charlotte’s character now that I know her background and how she managed to become 'Sherlock Holmes' and how she came to know the recurring characters, or her history with them.

I am looking forward to seeing how Charlotte’s character develops from here, but, of course, let’s not forget the mysteries- which is what we came here for! The case in this book was very well constructed- and executed, and I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing Holmes solve more mysteries, along with and her supporting cast!

4 stars
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
June 29, 2020
To me, it had a really slow start. I almost DNF'd it after about an hour and a half of listening. Nothing of interest was happening and I didn't like any of the characters. In fact, I turned it off and planned to listen to something else but then...something happened. Maybe I didn't have another book so I ended up going back to this one? I don't remember.
Whatever. I turned this one back on and it got better.

So, Sherlock Holmes is actually Charlotte Holmes, but given the times she lives in, she pretends to consult her 'brother' and makes money using her skills to help people solve their problems.
Big or little. <--there's a lot more to the backstory than that, and part of it involves sleeping with some doofus so her father can't force her to get married.


There's a lot of switcheroo gender-wise in this one (duh), and there's also a (bittersweet) love interest added in that gives it a different flare than Doyle's version of Sherlock.
This was more of what I was hoping for (but didn't get) when I read The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it is still lacking that something that would have made me love-love it.

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Edition: Unabridged
Kate Reading - Narrator <--did a great job!
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews986 followers
September 8, 2016

Buddy-read with my partners in crime (I believe I can honestly admit now that we were planning to assassinate this book) Vira (special thanks to you, my book fairy godmother), Simona, Katerina.


I've been waiting for this book with a vigor of a seasoned fan; like a person dying of thirst and as if this book is the only water source for miles; like a chocolate addict who's waiting for her favorite sort of chocolate to be delivered... Okay, now you've got the picture? Add to this the fact I've read all of Sherry's books and, though, some of them weren't my thing, I still found them rather curious.


What the heck have I just read? Are you sure it was Sherry Thomas? What do I need to sell to make me forget that book? Not in a million years did I imagine I could dislike it.

The greatest failure of this book, ironically, is its lack of deductive reasoning. When you try to add its part into one, they do not build the whole picture: the nose is where the mouse should to be; ears instead of eyes and so on. In the end we have a peculiar creature that can not give readers an answer why was it created in the first place.

Mc Charlotte Holmes appears in this book like a neighbor unexpectedly stopped by to have a cup of tea and than as unexpectedly disappeared. We know that the neighbor has life but we do not posses details of that life and have little idea what our neighbor is like. We are told that Charlotte can do that and that. But we are shown an entirely different person: she is suppose to be cold and calculating, and don't forget genius as she is Sherlock's prototype. If you read original Sherlock Holmes adventures, you are aware that Sherlock was incapable of love. He liked to study people and could quite well socialize with them, but real feelings weren't for him. Charlotte is not only likes people, she also seems to love them: her sister, mysterious Lord Ingram, poor orphan and her mum, and probably she even loves cats and dogs too. But that does not add with the description we have of her and her own declaration of never falling in love and that it is not something for people like her. I guess ambivalence is your second name, Charlotte. That erratic inconsistency of her character made it impossible for me to connect with her, so I must admit I highly dislike Charlotte Holmes.

Second great failure is the amount of narrators. The story seems to jump from one narrator to anther in absolutely chaotic pattern. First, we had Livia's (Charlotte's sister) POV. I must admit Liv is the only character I liked in this book. She was lively and funny and humane. But after a few chapters from Liv's POV she almost entirely vanished from the story, appearing only in Charlotte's flashbacks and current thoughts. What the hell?

Then we have Lord Ingram's short POVs from time to time. Again, what is there purpose? There's too little of them to seriously consider him as narrator, and what we have could've been easily shown to us from Charlotte's perspective.

And finally, may I present you our main character of the book - Inspector Treadles - the most boring inspector in the history of detective stories. We most of the time follow the investigation from his perspective, and when I say follow, I mean it feels as if we were physically present on every interrogation he ever had during this case. We didn't miss a detail or word from his work. We are invincible audience always present and hanging over his shoulder. Sounds intriguing? If only I could stop yawning, bored to death with those details. For chocolate's sake, I don't need to know EVERYTHING! Give me important details, something that will keep my attention, not make me snore. What a bore! Did you know that too many details make a story insipid? And that leads me to the final great failure - the mystery.

I honestly did not know what it was till the end. I admit there was an element of surprise, but, again, I was struck with the inconsistency of details and facts the mystery provided. Charlotte's investigation was conducted mostly separately from the main mystery, and, moreover, she investigated different cases (more than one), which was really distracting and unnecessary for the story itself. One mystery at a time, please! We don't need a hoard of them. Treadles was mostly the brain behind the mystery, because Charlotte was busy with other things. And when the last piece of mystery was finally placed, it annihilated everything Treadles did for his investigation. A random piece of information solved everything. Yay! Why the heck did we endure hours of boring Treadles to have this in the end? Maybe it would've been better to concentrate on characters and their development instead!

A Study in scarlet women feels underdeveloped almost in every aspect. We don't get the whole story, we don't get logic that would've been most apparent in some cases of the story. I honestly don't understand the purpose of this book and have no desire or even a glimpse of interest to know what's going to happen next. Go rest on my 'fell short of expectations shelf' book.

Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books8,099 followers
October 15, 2018
I am very very late to this series because Victorian detective novels are both my life and my largest DNF pile. I get to 20% in and all too often the author is chucking around modern phrases, ignoring all the social issues for high and low, and, if American, bloody usually randomly inserting 'bloody' into bloody places no Brit would ever put bloody it. So even though this is Sherry Thomas, I had the fear.

I needn't have. This is a cracking read, with an interesting heroine, loads of background, lovely detailing. The mystery was not hugely elaborate but there was a lot of series set-up to be done, which honestly I enjoyed more anyway, and the writing is massively readable and engaging. The network of characters are all nicely flawed with a range of complex issues, no supertastic geniuses or unequivocal beauties here, and I want to read a ton more about them all. (And I can because of cunningly waiting for there to be two more books, so that's my birthday present to myself sorted.)

I will say: disappointing editing from a big 6 publisher. There are a Sherlock, two Sheridans and two Shrewsburys : that is *too many* Sh-- names because readers chunk names by the initials and the editor should have known that. Plus jumping points of view and a few proofing errors. Doesn't showcase the publisher's ability, or serve the author as she deserves.

Otherwise a greatly enjoyable read with loads of heart and interest, and--sadly unusually for Holmes riffs--does something new, clever, and story enhancing with the source material. I particularly liked Mrs John Watson being widowed because in this timeline the Jezail bullet hit home, and the police detective Treadles (anagram time!). Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Christina ~ Brunette Reader.
187 reviews309 followers
August 18, 2017
4,5 Stars

An artful and intriguing retelling, this time our Sherlock goes by the name of Charlotte, can't resist sweets and sports blond curls and a generous hourglass figure, but the discernment, intuition and genius are on par with the original counterpart. A brand-new mystery of its own with some devious twists leads the plot, while all the literary staples of the old formula are reinterpreted through a unique and fresh slant.
Superbly written, as usual with this author, in a narrative style which is to savour word by word and which is able to convey all the expected late Victorian charm and mannerism thanks to the polished language and the imaginative rendition of the setting, this was a very enjoyable read and a great setup for the following series, full of expertly crafted primary and secondary characters.
And while this mainly remains an historical mystery, Sherry Thomas has also inserted some romantic undertones fraught with social hurdles and ramifications and it would be very interesting to see what developments they might bring to an already multilayered picture.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,674 reviews1,010 followers
December 18, 2016
I've given this an A- at AAR, which is 4.5 stars rounded up.

I admit that when I heard that Sherry Thomas, one of my favourite and without doubt one of the finest authors of Historical Romance currently writing was going to be shifting genres and embarking on a series of Historical Mysteries, my first thought was to go and curl up in the corner with a box of Kleenex. That was a fairly fleeting thought, however, as I know I’d probably read Ms. Thomas’ shopping lists; and given that I adored her YA Elementals Trilogy , I knew, deep down, that she would ace whatever she turned her hand to.  And she has.  A Study in Scarlet Women, the first book in her new Lady Sherlock series is a terrific read; well-plotted, brilliantly characterised and retaining enough of the characteristics of Conan Doyle’s original to be recognisable while adding more layers and facets to her protagonist to make her a completely plausible woman of her time.

Charlotte Holmes, youngest of four sisters, has always been a little… odd.  As a child, she rarely spoke unless she had something to say, she liked her own company and her ability to observe and reach startlingly accurate conclusions was somewhat unnerving.  Her father found her entertaining –
Charlotte was his pet – he was vastly amused by her combination of great intelligence, great oddity and great silence

– while her domineering mother despaired of her ever becoming all that a proper young lady should be.  As Charlotte grew older, she began to realise that she was different and understand what it was that set her apart from others, so she began to employ learned behaviours when they didn’t come naturally to her, such as comforting her sister Olivia (Livia) – to whom she is closest – when she was upset or depressed, and making the effort to turn herself into the fashion plate her mother wanted her to be.  On the outside, Charlotte is the ideal of Victorian womanhood – pretty, petite and curvaceous with blonde ringlets, big blue eyes and charming dimples.  The inside, however, is another matter entirely:
– the Good Lord went to ridiculous lengths to make sure that one of the finest minds in existence was housed in a body least likely to be suspected of it.

Charlotte made her intention never to marry quite clear to her father when she told him that she wanted to pursue a career as headmistress of a girls’ school.  Naturally, he said she was too young to make such a decision and that she should wait a few years, but Charlotte has never wavered from that choice.  As the story begins, however, Sir Henry Holmes’ not unexpected reneging on his promise to fund Charlotte’s training forces her to take drastic measures, and she purposely gets herself ruined by a married man (because he could not be forced to marry her to restore her reputation), as a way of rebelling and of making sure she can’t be married off to an eligible parti.  Unfortunately, however, her choice of swain was not her best decision;  in a drunken stupor the previous evening, he disclosed his plans to his wife, ensuring that she and her mother interrupt his tryst with Charlotte at a sensitive moment.  Now, Charlotte is not only ruined for marriage, she is publicly disgraced, at the centre of a huge scandal and facing the prospect of spending the rest of her life shut away in obscurity in the country.

That is absolutely NOT part of Charlotte’s plan, so she runs away, secure in the knowledge that she will be able to secure employment as a secretary or typist. Her only real regret is leaving behind her sister, Livia, who is emotionally fragile and prone to depression, a young woman who dislikes society yet fears being alone, and who is, apart from one other, the only person Charlotte really relates to strongly and cares for.

Charlotte may be brilliant, but she is still a woman and has to contend with the social conventions that are so strictly applied to her sex. When the lady running the boarding house at which she is staying discovers Charlotte’s true identity (she had registered under a false name) she is asked to leave, and with no letters of reference or qualifications, she has been unable to secure employment. Her meagre funds are running out and she is faced with the prospect of living on the streets or having to go back home; and she is at a low ebb when she encounters an older, flamboyant lady with whom she feels an almost instant connection. This is, of course, Mrs. John Watson, a former actress and the widow of an army officer who perished in Afghanistan some years earlier.

That’s Charlotte and her story so far, but while all this is going on, other characters are being introduced and plotlines laid. Not long after Charlotte’s disgrace, the mother of her lover is found dead, and because Livia had publicly accused the woman of ruining her sister, suspicion falls upon her. Then there is the matter of the sudden death of Lady Amelia Drummond, the lady to whom Sir Henry had been engaged before he married his wife and with whom Sir Henry had quarrelled on the evening before her demise. Add in the recent death of Mr Harrington Sackville of Devon… the game is afoot and the famous, reclusive detective Sherlock Holmes is on the case. But how effective can he be when it seems he has taken to his bed with a serious illness and can be consulted only via his sister?

Inspector Treadles (*grin*) of Scotland Yard is rather disappointed at this news, as he has had some experience of working with Holmes in the past – not in person, but through his friend, renowned archaeologist Lord Ingram Ashburton – and had hoped do so again. But Lord Ingram is not sanguine about Holmes’ recovery, although he does agree to seek his help on Treadles’ behalf after Holmes declares that the deaths of Lady Amelia, Mr Sackville and Lady Shrewsbury are related.

And this brings me to one big difference between the original Sherlock and this new female incarnation of him. While Holmes – the male version – is asexual, Charlotte is not. In fact, it’s very clear from the beginning of the book that she and Lord Ingram are in love, and probably have been since they were children.

Some people never meet the right person in life. They, on the other hand, met when they were too young to realize what they had found in each other. And when they did at last see the light, it was too late.

For he is married – very unhappily – and far too honourable to do what many men in his position would have done and seek pleasure and companionship elsewhere. In fact, he and Charlotte don’t even meet face-to-face until about half-way through the book, but when they do, the chemistry between them is explosive. Obviously, as this novel is predominantly a mystery, any romantic aspects take a back seat, but when an author writes two characters with such a strong, deep connection, it’s impossible not to want the relationship to go somewhere and to wonder how Ms. Thomas is going to surmount the obvious obstacles she has thrown in its path.

A Study in Scarlet Women is a terrific way to kick off this new series. The pacing is excellent, the characters are superbly drawn and the mystery is intriguing and suitably complex without being completely impenetrable; but the real highlight is the way Ms. Thomas so brilliantly introduces her main characters throughout the first half of the story without subjecting the reader to info-dumps and improbable coincidences. It’s a masterclass in How To Do It Right. The whole thing evolves organically, from the descriptions of Charlotte’s obviously dysfunctional family and the far-reaching effects of their parents’ strained marriage on her and her sisters, to the gradual deepening of the mystery and its eventual solution. My only criticism – which isn’t really a criticism, as it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book – is that much of the leg-work regarding the mystery is done by Inspector Lestrade Treadles and his team, so Charlotte is, of necessity, ‘off screen’. That said, it’s absolutely correct given that she’s a woman and couldn’t have taken part in a police investigation, even if Treadles had known her identity. A lesser author would probably have had her in the thick of it, but Sherry Thomas is someone who takes things like historical accuracy seriously and who is more than good enough at what she does to be able to have her heroine observing the conventions of the day even as she pursues her unconventional career. The reason for the A- and not a straight A is because of the convenience of the fact that two of Charlotte’s immediate family are in the frame for the murders – otherwise, I’ve no complaints.

The novel ends with some tantalising glimpses of what might be to come, with hints at some of the less orthodox occupations of an aristocratic archaeologist, the establishment of a possible arch enemy and the introduction of Lord Bancroft Ashburton (one of Ingram’s brothers), who looks set to play a similar role to that of Mycroft Holmes. A Study in Scarlet Women probably isn’t one for Holmes purists, but for those of us who like a determined, unconventional heroine, a decent mystery in an historical setting and who are prepared to nod and smile at the in-jokes and references, then my recommendation is, well, Elementary.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,343 reviews4,864 followers
August 3, 2021

In this story, set in late-1800s London, 'Sherlock Holmes' is the alias of a woman called Charlotte Holmes, who - because of society's strictures - has to do her sleuthing in the guise of a man. In this first book in the 'Lady Sherlock' series, we find out how Charlotte came to this pass.


Victorian England was a restrictive place for upper class British women, who were expected to marry, have children, run a household, and spend their free time calling on other ladies and doing good works. Women who didn't wed became spinsters and - since 'getting a job' was beneath them - usually remained under the thumb of their father or brother, who could be resentful and unkind.

Women who strayed from this path were ostracized by society, especially if there was a whiff of immorality about their behavior.

Charlotte Holmes, the daughter of a wealthy family, chafes at these expectations and makes a deal with her father: If she doesn't marry by the age of 25, he will finance her education. This would allow Charlotte to fulfill her ambitions and become the headmistress of a girl's school. A bonus to this plan, in Charlotte's eyes, would be that she could take care of her two sisters, neither of whom is likely to marry since one is mentally handicapped and the other is very picky about men.

Charlotte's father renegs on his promise and Charlotte retaliates in a fashion that not only gets her excommunicated from society, it embarrasses the Holmes family and blackens their name. Charlotte's furious parents plan to banish her to their country cottage forever, so she runs away, gets a cheap room, and tries to find a job. This is easier said than done, and Charlotte is on her last legs and hungry when she meets a well-to-do former actress named Mrs. Watson who's very impressed by Charlotte's astounding deductive skills.

Before long - with financial backing from Mrs. Watson - 'Sherlock Holmes' is set up as a consulting detective on Baker Street. The fiction is that Sherlock is sick in bed, but can hear what the client tells 'his sister Charlotte' in the next room. Charlotte then 'confers with Sherlock' and conveys the sleuth's observations to the client. Mrs. Watson is supposedly Sherlock's nurse.

As all this is going on, three members of British society - two women and a man - die from accidental chloral hydrate overdoses. Charlotte deems these deaths suspicious, and using the name Sherlock Holmes, writes a letter to the coroner suggesting the aristocrats were murdered.

Now things get more complicated.

The detective assigned to investigate the chloral hydrate overdoses, Inspector Treadles, has previously consulted with Sherlock Holmes via letters. Now, Treadles goes to Baker Street to get Holmes' advice in person. These interactions are facilitated by Treadles' friend Lord Ingram, who's known Charlotte for years and is aware of her 'secret identity.'

The portion of the book where Treadles pursues his inquiries is a police procedural, where people are questioned, evidence is collected, deductions are made, and so on. Most of the witnesses lie to Treadles for various reasons, but the Inspector whittles away at the mystery (with Sherlock Holmes' help) and discovers the truth.

The story has a clever premise, but - as a big Sherlock Holmes fan - I'd rather the author didn't twist his persona for her books. My feeling is: "Make up your own detective." That said, the mystery is well-crafted and I enjoyed the book.

For romance fans, there's an attraction between Charlotte and Lord Ingram but they're 'just friends' because he's a married man. Who knows what the future holds, however. 😕

I'd recommend the novel to fans of historical mysteries.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews828 followers
January 13, 2021
2.5 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Genre: historical mystery, adult
Stuff: female Sherlock, 3 victims, investigation
Fail: plot-logic, story-structure, characters
POV: 3rd-person, multi
Love-Geometry: none (plus romance is very subtle)

"Such a tragedy. Such a waste. Such a shame."

DNFed at 35%

I was really excited to read this book, 'cause a) Sherry Thomas and b) Sherlock Holmes . I still love Sherry and Sherlock , but A Study in Scarlet Women isn't for me. My rating is very low, but I merely follow GR-rules. 1 star means I-did-not-like-it and that's exactly how I feel.

The structure is very confusing. Different timelines and POVs are entwined way incoherently and there are too many narrators for such a short novel.

The writing style is awesome and awful at the same time. Sherry knows how to stylize epoch through the wording, but even Elizabethan English ( City of Masks has it) was easier to deal with. Sometimes I had to re-read seemingly simple phrases just to grasp the meaning. And not because of old-fashioned words, but because of their order in sentences. Something was off. But not all the time, thank god.

The characters aren't interesting. I never wanted to dig deeper and find out more about them.  A million lords, sisters, wives, widows... And not a single spark.

The mystery is boring as hell. How many fucks do I give about the murderer's identity is? Not even a half-fuck. Not even zero, actually.

The main idea was screwed by its execution. Charlotte was supposed to be rational, clever, smart, but her talent for solving rebuses was not convincing enough. Especially considering after her lack of foresight and a stupid ruination-plan plus a few more moments than a brilliant mind turned out to be a brilliant fool. I'm sorry, this is not Sherlock.

All in all, A Study in Scarlet Women bored me to committing a bookish sin. My second DNF in 2016. Yes, my dears, for Kat this is too much)

I wouldn't recommend this book, but I wouldn't act vice versa. You'll understand everything you need to decided whether to read this or no after a few chapters. So give it a chance, if you please. But be ready for a weird adventure.

Lady Sherock (Леди Шерлок):
A Study in Scarlet Women (Женский этюд в багровых тонах) #1/3
— Untitled (Без названия) #2/3
— Untitled (Без названия) #3/3
Profile Image for jenny✨.
563 reviews800 followers
January 26, 2021
3.5 worth-a-read stars!

Despite the differing periods (Regency vs. Victorian), this is the book that’s come closest—so far—to helping me achieve my quest to shore up the void left by Netflix’s Bridgerton.

What began as a lukewarm story evolved into something far more intricate and engrossing as the novel progressed. On the whole, it’s a little cluttered; there are so many characters, red herrings, details and subplots—making for an at-times tedious read that is hard to follow. As a result, Charlotte Holmes felt less like a standout protagonist and more like a member of a (still endearing) supporting cast, when I would’ve far rather preferred her as the former.

BUT this was more than made up for by the parts that engendered genuine emotion in me. I felt amusement, sadness, and outrage. I found myself thoroughly entertained, particularly after Holmes and Watson join up. And alongside the moments that cracked me up, there were also moments that delivered sentiments with cleverness and poignancy.

Do not undervalue what you are ultimately worth because you are at a momentary disadvantage.

Bottom line: I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to reading more books in the series in future, and there’s a good chance I might come back and bump my rating for this one up to 4 stars.


Read while blasting my Bridgerton playlist on endless loop!!
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,287 reviews528 followers
January 19, 2018
How had they managed to not realize, for so long, what they meant to one another? And why then must they see the light when it was too late, when they could possess no more than a few moments of ferocious mutual awareness?

With more historical mystery elements than romance, this new spin on an old classic character was immensely intriguing. The beginning was a bit schizophrenic to me and I had a little tougher time sliding into Thomas' world. Our main character Charlotte Holmes takes her time coming to the forefront but after I finished the book, I think this choice really worked, but I needed hindsight to appreciate it.

There's one main mystery case needing to be solved with other little ones sprinkled in as new characters get introduced. There's a handful of main stay characters, an Inspector that brings the reader through the main mystery case, Charlotte's sister Livia who welcomes us into the world, Mrs. Watson ;) who helps to set-up our Sherlock Holmes, and Lord Ingram who weaves in our little thread of romance. There are a two handfuls of secondary characters who serve the mystery case or help to fill out the world.

This is obviously a first in a series book and should be read as such, as most of this could be considered an introduction to characters and relationships. Thomas does an amazing job with all the myriad intricacies in everyone's relationships but just be aware there is not much typical romance here. Charlotte and Lord Ingram have a past and obvious tension between them but if there is any payoff to be found, it is definitely in future installments.

I didn't really settle into this until the second half of the book and I missed more romance but the intrigue, refreshing spin, and genuine stimulating writing kept me engaged.
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
649 reviews5,795 followers
March 25, 2022
I know it's an unfair comparison, but I kept thinking "You're not Veronica and Stoker"
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,232 followers
February 27, 2018
I absolutely adored this gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes story featuring the odd duck Charlotte Holmes as the madame detective. I've read - and watched - a lot of Sherlock retellings over the years, but recently, they've just been outstanding. And they only keep getting better! From Cumberbatch's portrayal to Ellie Marney's EVERY series to William Ritter's Sherlock/Doctor Who mash-up...I just can't seem to get my fill.

But a retelling in which, gasp, the detective of the hour is female, albeit secretly so? Now that's unique. And in immediate need of my attention. Especially the way in which Charlotte is able to pull off the deception and the way in which familiar characters are introduced to the story. It's like coming home to find that someone has rearranged all your furniture. Familiar and yet not.

The streets of London are in the capable hands of Charlotte Holmes with Sherry Thomas at the helm, though. I was a bit confused at first, what with the flashbacks and, erm, the shocking events that led to Charlotte pretending to be Sherlock, but soon all became clear and the real mystery was afoot. And it was rather ingenious, the way it unraveled.

I've enjoyed Sherry Thomas' YA series and her historical fiction and I cannot wait to continue her Lady Sherlock series. I liked the small taste of romantic tension we got in this first installment, especially considering that love is probably at the very BOTTOM of Charlotte's list of priorities, and I can't wait to read more of her adventures and romantic liaisons...especially the scandalous ones!
Profile Image for Lyuda.
538 reviews133 followers
November 8, 2016

4.5 stars

What if Mr. Sherlock Homes was actually Miss Charlotte Homes - a young lady with inquiring mind, trying to find independence outside of the strictures of society?
With this exquisite Sherlock Holmes’ reimagining, Sherry Thomas conquers a completely new territory and proves that she is not only terrific historical romance writer but terrific writer-period.

I want to emphases right away that:

1. The story is not a romance , although the traces of it (forbidden for now) are there and I hope and dread at the same time to see its development throughout the series.

2. At the beginning of the story, Charlotte makes an extreme and what appears to be irrational life altering choice. I wasn’t sure what to make of it and, actually, was contemplating if I should continue. But the author’s brilliant writing seduced me and I’m so glad I didn’t stop reading because I would’ve missed a very good story.

As one of the reviewers pointed out, the title, A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN, is partly a homage to Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock story but with the clever twist to reflect the "fallen" women to be found within its pages, Charlotte, being one of them.

Oh, Charlotte Holmes, you stole my heart bit by bit. Your determination to succeed and survive in a world that would very much like to see you fail, your cheerfulness, your resourcefulness, your unique mind, your quirky personality, even your love of food were so enduring.

Miss Holmes smiled. She had dimples. Of course she did - the Good Lord went to ridiculous lengths to make sure that one of the finest minds in existence was housed in a body least likely to be suspected of it.

…The deepest feelings of others were always a mystery to her. Not that she didn’t know what sentiments were and how to read them, but she herself didn’t seem to experience life in quite the same emotion-driven manner. Her days were catalogued as facts and factual observation. She sometimes thought of herself as combination of a phonographic cylinder and a motion picture camera - which inventors were still working on - that moved through life recording everything she saw and heard…It was in her adolescence that she discovered most people’s memories worked nothing like her. For them the only indelible elements in the dossiers of a life were the emotions.

I loved the complicated multi-layered relationships, and their embedded hard to resolve conflicts. Nothing is predictable here, nothing is cliché.

The way the mystery unfolds, with it is twists and turns was little slow but incredibly engrossing.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,589 reviews191 followers
December 21, 2020
2018-02: 4 stars. While waiting for an audio hold at the library, I decided to give the audio of a book I didn't particularly like a listen. Why? Because Kate Reading. I knew what to expect from the story and the characters, and figured I couldn't be more disappointed by the book this time through. Imagine my surprise when I ended up enjoying this audiobook. I found that its faults weren't as apparent, though I was still confused by some of the actions by the culprit(s), as well as who was Lady Who and Lord What by the end of the story.
What was more obvious to me this time around were the female friendships, as in Charlotte and Livia, and Charlotte and Mrs. Watson. And I was more able to appreciate the author's take on the Holmes and Watson relationship, as embodied by Charlotte, Livia and Mrs. Watson. I did, however, continue to think Charlotte's and Ingram's attraction for each other was not very credible. And I found Ingram’s watching over Charlotte demeaning.
Since I did enjoy this audio as a way to kill time while waiting for a hold, I may take a chance on book two's audio.

While waiting for an audio hold at the library, I decided to give the audio of a book I didn't particularly like a listen. Why? Because Kate Reading. I knew what to expect from the story and the characters, and figured I couldn't be more disappointed by the book this time through. Imagine my surprise when I ended up enjoying this audiobook. I found that its faults weren't as apparent, though I was still confused by some of the actions by the culprit(s), as well as who was Lady Who and Lord What by the end of the story.
What was more obvious to me this time around were the female friendships, as in Charlotte and Livia, and Charlotte and Mrs. Watson. And I was more able to appreciate the author's take on the Holmes and Watson relationship, as embodied by Charlotte, Livia and Mrs. Watson. I did, however, continue to think Charlotte's and Ingram's attraction for each other was not very credible. And I found Ingram’s watching over Charlotte demeaning.
Since I did enjoy this audio as a way to kill time while waiting for a hold, I may take a chance on book two's audio.

2017-01: 2 stars. What is it with this and the last Holmes interpretation I read? I never really got the hang of this story. I found the writing confusing and I think much more editing was required. There were spelling errors present still in this published version, I found I never really got a sense of some of the characters and their relationships, and I found some of the jumping between time periods or scenes clunky. Also, the mystery driving the story forwards wasn't particularly interesting, including the characters under investigation.

In this book, that Holmes was female made sense, heightening the mystery and unusual aspect of the character, while making a statement about the difficulties women had in this time period to be taken seriously and , in the case of the gentry, have meaningful work. I liked how John Watson was also a woman and this Watson was intelligent, worldly, amusing, and an older woman, which was really nice to see.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,402 reviews1,850 followers
February 20, 2018
I can't quite make myself round up on this one but it was a close call by the end of the story. I have to admit : for the first 45% of A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN, I was soooo bored. And I'm not sure why. I've read Thomas' historicals before (though it was YA fantasy, but still), found her writing to be even more wonderful than prior experiences, but I was just.. blah.

The latter half of the story, however, is fantastic. Especially as certain characters' history is teased, then unraveled, and then left for us to swoon over. The gender role swaps, the changes to the Sherlock-canon, all of it was great. The mystery, too, was really clever once we finally had more pieces to put together. But that beginning.. yikes. It really dropped this from what otherwise was a four star read.

Nonetheless, I'm really looking forward to reading book two.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews864 followers
December 9, 2021
“I do not like the idea of bartering the use of my reproductive system for a man's support...”

Book Review: 'A Study In Scarlet Women' Starts Auspiciously But Then Gradually Disimproves - RedCarpetCrash.com

I enjoyed Sherry Thomas' A Study in Scarlet Women. In it, Charlotte Holmes transforms herself from a woman who 'should be' doing everything she can to get a husband into a version of the iconic detective, Sherlock Holmes. Maintaining this alter ego becomes as important a part of the story as solving the mystery behind several strange deaths. It seemed a bit clunky at the beginning, but it found its footing and was a fun read. 3.75 stars
Profile Image for Gio Listmaker .
294 reviews90 followers
December 30, 2016
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Spoilers Ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 50% Questions Are All I Have

Image result for questions confused gif

Why Is The Heroine In The Background Of Her Own Book?
Why Are There Multiple Points Of View?
Where Is The Romance?
Where Is The Quirky Genius Prototype That Is Sherlock Holmes???
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews837 followers
September 1, 2016
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Book One of the Lady Sherlock series
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

What I Liked:

When I first saw this, I was curious, because I've read some of Sherry Thomas's books in the past, and really enjoyed them. She writes adult historical romance, Young Adult fantasy, and now alternate historical fiction! Such a wide range of fiction to write. And Thomas has not let readers down, in any genre or age level!

I'm counting this as my Pili-Pushed recommendation of August! To see all of my Pili-Pushed reviews, click on the "Pili Pushed" tag on my blog!

Charlotte Holmes has a brilliant mind and excellent memory, and it has always set her apart. She isn't interested in catching a husband and maintaining a household - she wants independence. To achieve her independence, she does something ghastly, and she runs away, as a result. Now on the streets, Charlotte is faced with the harsh reality of being a woman with no references, no experience, and no education. But when three deaths occur, two of which involving her sister and father, Charlotte knows she must do something to cast the blame elsewhere. She knows her family is innocent. Sherlock Holmes is born, a mastermind problem-solver, and it is up to Holmes to solve the mystery of the three murders.

I liked Charlotte - she's so clever and observant, it's almost bizarre! At first I was furious at The Thing she did that turned society against her - how could she do something like that? But I came to really respect her decision, and who she involved, and why it needed to happen. I wish it had happened some other way, but you have to admit, it was... well thought-out. Charlotte - Sherlock - is brilliant and thinks of just about everything. At times I wondered if she felt human emotions like everyone else, but Charlotte is just as human as anyone else.

Other characters worth mentioning - Mrs. Watson, Inspector Treadles, Lord Ingram, Livia. Mrs. Watson takes in Charlotte as a lady's maid, but she's more than meets the eye. In fact, Charlotte doesn't know certain things about Mrs. Watson until the very end of the book. Inspector Treadles is put in charge of investigating the Sackville death (one of the three), the one not indirectly related to the Holmes family. Treadles is quite intelligent in his own regard, and I love how sweet he is with his wife. Lord Ingram is a rich and powerful lord, married to a haughty, cold woman who is estranged from him, and has two children. Lord Ingram is, well, Lord Ingram. He is the silent, intelligent type, very clever but one that has a quiet yet forceful presence. Livia is Charlotte's older sister, who, at twenty-seven, is a spinster in her parents' home. I liked Livia, though I liked Charlotte more.

This book is written in third-person, and we get to read from Charlotte's, Treadles', and Livia's POV. I liked Charlotte's the most, but as the book went on, I began to really enjoy Treadles'. Livia's felt the most useless to me, throughout the whole book.

The mystery was so well-written! I wasn't quite sure of anything, until the reveal. Thomas has a way of twisting the story so that you're never sure who did what, no matter how sure you think you are. It certainly kept me reading! The more interesting parts of the mystery came around the 40% mark and beyond.

There is a tiny smidgen of romance, but it's weird and complicated, and I really can't see how Thomas will make that work. Part of me really doesn't want Thomas to make it work. But then, Charlotte and her man are really great together. They've known each other for years, and while they've never done anything with each other, they've had this simmering chemistry between them for years. I want it to work out but... it's weird. How is Thomas going to make it happen?

This book wrapped up perfectly, with the mystery solved and the correct people taken blame. I know this is book one of a series, but I'm honestly curious as to how this will be a series. I'm glad though, because I want to know how the barely-there romance is going to work out. Oh, and I'd love to see more mysteries solved by Sherlock Holmes!

What I Did Not Like:

I'm going to be honest -- the first, let's say, one-third of this book was frustratingly slow, and boring. I struggled to get past that initial one-third, and it took me several days to do so. Once I did, I flew through the rest of the book.

Obviously I'm going to complain about the romance -- it's so disappointing in a way! I don't know how Thomas is going to let it work out, because there really is no good ending. Unless everyone dies. Or key people. Ugh! Frustrating.

Would I Recommend It:

I do like this book a lot, and there is very little "big stuff" to complain about, so I do recommend it. However, it might be a good idea to binge-read the series, if you're like me and would prefer a romance easier on the heart? I have no idea how Thomas is going to let that work out, but I'm sure binge-reading the series will be much less painful than waiting for each book to publish to see how things go.

Of course, if you couldn't care less about romance, and you're 100% in it for the mystery, then READ THIS! It's such a great historical fiction + mystery novel! Gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes for the win.


4 stars. My complaints seem relatively tiny compared to how much I liked the book overall. Hopefully the series in general will work out nicely (in terms of those few complaints I had). I am looking forward to reading the next book! (In Fall 2017, unfortunately...)
Profile Image for The Lit Bitch.
1,248 reviews390 followers
December 14, 2020
Original Rating: 1 stars
Take Two Review Rating: 3 stars

Take Two Review:
When I first picked up this book, I didn’t love it. I don’t even think I made it 20% of the way through before I sat it down, though I did force myself to finish it but I just didn’t love it.

I decided NOT to read any of the other books in the series but at the same time, I lamented the fact that I didn’t love this series. I mean it’s been everywhere and lots of people loved it but I just didn’t. But it started to bug me that I didn’t love it.

Because by all accounts I SHOULD have loved this series. I finally gave in and read some of the other later books in the series and enjoyed them much more than the first book, but at the same time felt like I had missed out on some of the larger plot points so I did decide that the time had come for me to go back and start the series again, this time to see if I liked it better than before.

Well I don’t know that I loved this one any more the second time around, but I am glad I went back and re-read it. The first time around I gave it one star, but this time I would say that I would probably give it 3 stars. The POV was still a little irksome this time around but I also felt that perhaps that was the point of the series overall.

I am currently on book 3 and I will say that books 2 and 3 are much much better than this one and the reason I am driven to continue with this series and have now moved it from my ‘this isn’t for me’ shelf to my ‘glad I discovered this series’ shelf. While this might not be a favorite of mine, I have come to enjoy the characters, especially Lord Ingram.

When I first read this book, the POVs didn’t allow me to get close to Charlotte at all. I felt frustrated by that fact because she is the central character of this book series. I also felt that it was hard with so many different perspectives (Treadles, Charlotte, Livia, Mrs Watson, Lord Ingram etc) that I had a hard time sorting out what was important to the narrative and what wasn’t. Charlotte felt remote and unapproachable and I didn’t have a connection to her at all, but now on reflecting on the other books in the series, I think that’s the point of this first installment, to make Charlotte appear almost robotic in nature and then watch her unfold in the other books because by book 3, I found myself enjoying her more and more!

All of the books contain multiple mysteries that seem to be unrelated to the larger narrative and this could be confusing at times as I found myself rushing to get past some of those bits, only to find that they were important later on in the story. I would say that readers should pay attention to all of this book rather than try to get back to the main story. In the end I am glad I went back and re-read this one, having read the other books I have grown to appreciate the growth that the author and the characters underwent from this one up until the latest 5th book in the series.

See full review here
Profile Image for mith.
750 reviews258 followers
June 29, 2016
4.5! Going to have to wait a LONG time for the next book!
For those into mystery, I would HIGHLY recommend this! The mystery is wonderful, taking the span throughout the entire book a little bit at a time. It's told through various POVs--not just Charlotte's, which came as a surprise! Major key characters aren't introduced immediately, but at intervals, which I found immensely creative! I loved all of the characters, which is quite rare for me. Each had their own faults and insecurities and it made them all the more real. The setting and dialogue is extremely authentic and from the very beginning, I kept reading the book with a slight English accent in my mind (much to my embarrassment. Always happens when I hear the accent or read books that so clearly read as the posh accent.)
Also, there's some nice angst and TENSION!!! for those who are into it. Nothing too overwhelming, though, as it isn't the most important thing.
This was my very first Sherry Thomas book and I'm glad I really enjoyed it! You can tell she's no amateur when it comes to histories.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,433 reviews828 followers
December 9, 2021
December 21
Well I enjoyed that much more on a reread. It’s amazing how much I’d forgotten of the crime itself- much more gruesome - and also that some of the deaths were definite red herrings. I loved the relationship between Ash and Charlotte and look forward to seeing how that develops (if it does].
Feb 18
Just about 4 stars. I really enjoyed this especially the second half. The first half was a bit slow and the crimes central to the story were a bit convoluted. However it was rewarding finding out how the author could make a female Sherlock Holmes work, and in that respect she did a good job. I liked the fact that Charlotte was pretty and very feminine: it would have been intensely annoying to me had she been some frowsy old spinster type, just because she was very clever!
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
October 11, 2016
Being an avid Sherlock fan, I couldn't miss the opportunity to read something different, something with a nice witty twist and Thomas's latest read is exactly that.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this story. It was brilliant. All the right characters, in all the right roles with all the wit, humor, mystery, and danger that any Sherlock fan would adore right down to the classic 19th century London setting. Except of course, for one small difference with a very big impact, Sherlock and Watson, not hes at all but instead, brilliant, charismatic, shes.

This was so beautifully done, so realistically done that it was easy to imagine that Sir Conan Doyle got it all wrong and that in fact, Sherlock was none other than our heroine Charlotte Holmes herself.

Wonderfully written with rich detail, a wonderful page turning mystery and just enough hint of a romance to leave you breathless and wanting the next book immediately. I'm so very excited for this new series and can already tell it will be a fast favorite.

*An ARC copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Kara-karina.
1,658 reviews252 followers
October 19, 2016
I've seen some reviews where people haven't been happy with the pace and style of this book, but let me assure you, dear readers, this is not the case for me. I loved A Study in Scarlet Women.

It's a gender-bending misfit of a book, it's awkward and slow, but there is just something about Charlotte and Co. I found irresistible.

The narration starts right in the middle of Charlotte's ruination. You see, Charlotte grew up learning everyone's secrets through her talent of discernment, but she never could understand people's feelings or emotional reactions. It's a total mystery to her WHY people behave the way they do. So, she thinks if she explains something to her father logically he would totally go with her plan for her future. Instead, she is rejected and creates a quick plan B which unfortunately ruins all her chances due to unforeseen circumstances.

Charlotte is funny and sad and awkward and self-deprecating at the same time. As it's Sherry Thomas' writing we are talking about, she is also very endearing along with her sister and a star-crossed lover, Lord Ingram.

Aaah, Ingram! His role reveals itself slowly, and mostly he acts like a guardian angel to Charlotte providing cases, references and a very sneaky, very capable helper. He is livid at Charlotte, because she didn't ask him for help while we, readers, slowly discover their mutual history and hidden feelings for each other.

Another very pleasant character is Mrs. Watson. She is an older woman, a retired actress, who's got the money and is bored witless. She is in search of a companion, and Miss Holmes is a perfect partner in crime.

The cases are minor ones, - a few investigations to help establish the world-building. They and the villain didn't wow me. Instead I considered this book to be a prelude to good things to come. Overall, a very enjoyable, female-centric historical mystery. Recommended.

* * *

Я видела рецензии, в которых читатели жаловались на темп и стиль этой книги, однако поспешу вас заверить, что лично мне этот детективный роман очень понравился.

Изучение Легкомысленных Женщин - эта книга-оборотень, которая задаётся вопросом: "А что если Холмс - женщина как и большая часть, окружающих её людей?". Книга ��та неловкая, медленная и странноватая, однако что-то есть в Шарлотте и Ко., перед чем я не могу устоять.

Сюжет забрасывает читателя прямо посреди скандала, обесчестившего Шарлотту. Понимаете, несмотря на всю свою силу логики и дедукции, главная героиня никогда не могла понять человеческие эмоции, и когда пришла к своему отцу с логическим планом своего будущего, и он ей в нём отказал, она осталась в шоке и попыталась быстренько построить план Б. План Б провалился из-за независящих от неё обстоятельств, и её мечта оказалась разрушена. Шарлотта ушла из дома без средств к существованию и без друзей.

ГГ вообще - очень мила. Она самоиронична и грустна, но решительна и благородна. Однако, если вы - поклонник творчества Шерри Томас, то вы и сами хорошо знаете её типаж.

Нельзя не забыть о Лорде Инграме, который в тихую играет роль ангела-хранителя Шарлотты и покровителя Холмса. Инграм мучительно влюблён в ГГ, что читается очень вкусно, особенно когда читатель медленно узнаёт детали их отношений.

Ватсон к Холмсу Шарлотты тоже неожиданный и интересный персонаж. Она - пожилая актриса на пенсии с глубокими карманами и скукой, победить которую она пытается с помощью компаньонки, которую находит в лице Шарлотты.

Сами расследования инспектора Треадла, которые берёт на себя Холмс не особо интересны так же как и сам злодей, однако у меня осталось ощущение, что книга эта была прелюдией, обещанием будущих приключений, когда писатель наконец-то разогреется.

Хороший, тихий детективный роман с акцентом на феминизм. Рекомендую.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
June 29, 2019
This is my third time reading A Study In Scarlet Women and my feelings and opinion remain the same: This is a marvelous historical fiction / mystery. Sherry Thomas is a gift.

A Study In Scarlet Women is the Victorian adaptation of popular Sherlock series but with a twist. Sherlock is a lady of High Society. To my delight, it didn't disappoint. It's a spectacular opening for a series.

cw: pedophilia, non-explicit history of incest csa.

Charlotte is a main character to behold. Like, all of her male counterparts, she is wise beyond her years, has an ability to promptly deduce people and their mundane to odd situations. She also doesn't grasp the concept of love which I wouldn't attribute to her uncanny mind. She raises rational sentiment.

"But romantic love is . . . I don’t wish to say that romantic love itself is a fraud—I’m sure the feelings it inspires are genuine enough, however temporary. But the way it’s held up as this pristine, everlasting joy every woman ought to strive for—when in fact love is more like beef brought over from Argentina on refrigerated ships: It might stay fresh for a while under carefully controlled conditions, but sooner or later its qualities will begin to degrade. Love is by and large a perishable good and it is lamentable that young people are asked to make irrevocable, till-death-do-we-part decisions in the midst of a short-lived euphoria.”

I've read enough romance books to know that when a character expressed their lack of concern for romance and the attachments and expectations that would come along it—they eventually fall in love. I love romance so I always let it slide. But, I also want to read a story where the main character ended up not falling in love and is STILL completely contented with their lives. We really need to abolish the notion, romance is a missing piece most women should yearn for. With that being sad, I am rooting for the romance in this series. Hah! The text in the first book lightly touch on Charlotte's feelings. She's definitely unaware on that department.

That created a hurdle for my ship. They're quite problematic pair. Please read the book and feel free to judge me.

Lady Holmes is definitely part of my top fave heroines. Thomas crafted her in a way that makes her eccentricity and "non-sentiment moments" relatable. I love that she doesn't conform to Victorian's expectation of women from high society. I love love her to bits.

I can't wait enough for the sequel.
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,965 reviews668 followers
March 20, 2021
Usually I'm not a fan of gender swap, but I love this time period so I want to give it a try. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson are strong female leads. It was fascinating to read what women can or can't do in those times, ie, tea shops provided venues where an unaccompanied female could dine respectably in public.

There were slow points in the book, but I'm intrigued by Lord Ingram. I'm feeling something something between him and Holmes! But he's married, so.... perhaps I'll have to read another.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,740 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.