Simona Bartolotta's Reviews > A Study in Scarlet Women

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
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bookshelves: in-english, crime, ebooks, historical

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 (a version of) him on television, whatever the series/movie (even Elementary will do). Then I resurrect and start obsessing all over again. So, were my expectations exaggerated? Probably. But I have trust in your trust for me: 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. 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. This is not believable. If you are clever and quick to make connections, you always are, not only when someone has been murdered or something has been stolen. It's not as if wits can take shifts like a nurse or a zoo keeper.
(➦ I would like to stress that I'm not referring to people with conditions like autism. Some readers have put forward the theory that Charlotte could indeed be autistic, and I would like that explanation very, very much, but as far as I know, and please do contradict me if I'm mistaken, the author neve said anything definite in this regard, and I won't assume that she is just because I would like it to be so and because it woould make it allmore reasonable.)

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 all 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 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.
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Reading Progress

March 17, 2016 – Shelved
March 17, 2016 – Shelved as: wishlist
May 11, 2016 – Shelved as: wishlist
August 26, 2016 – Started Reading
August 26, 2016 – Shelved as: in-english
August 27, 2016 – Shelved as: crime
August 28, 2016 – Finished Reading
September 11, 2016 – Shelved as: ebooks
September 1, 2017 – Shelved as: historical

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

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Nastassja Awww, I am happy you are as excited about this book as I am, Simona *high five* Now we only have to wait till October patiently... agh, october, just come already! :D


Simona Bartolotta It can't come fast enough! How are we supposed to wait?! I'll probably just reread all of Sherlock's original novels and short-stories to keep myself busy XD


Nastassja Simona wrote: "It can't come fast enough! How are we supposed to wait?! I'll probably just reread all of Sherlock's original novels and short-stories to keep myself busy XD"

Original books plus we can watch movie adaptations and I have a new Sherlock re-telling on the way A Study in Charlotte. And don't forget about the winner's kiss which is coming out soon. it'll probably engage me for a couple of months of reading, then re-reading... angst will be everywhere :D


message 4: by Medini (new) - added it

Medini Wow thank you Simona and Nastassja for bringing this to my notice :))


Nastassja Medini wrote: "Wow thank you Simona and Nastassja for bringing this to my notice :))"

You are welcome, dear :) Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite authors and I would recommend anything she writes.


Simona Bartolotta Study in Charlotte! I was so very excited for that one, but then a couple of negative reviews came out and my enthusiasm just... deflated. Are you going to read it? If you are, then I'm definetly stalking your reading progress, Nastya :D

@Medini Glad you're one of us!! <3 :D


Nastassja Simona wrote: "Study in Charlotte! I was so very excited for that one, but then a couple of negative reviews came out and my enthusiasm just... deflated. Are you going to read it? If you are, then I'm definetly s..."

I will read it, I am really curious about the book. if it's bad, well, I'll sulk a little and move on to something else :D


Fabian {Councillor} Any book with Sherlock as a side-character is a book I want to read immediately. :D Thank you for pointing this out!


Nastassja Yup, let's start!:D I am 2% in and already enjoy Thomas's writing style. I've forgotten how wonderful she is!


Katerina Kondrenko Oh, I promise to start the book today! That's gonna be fun)


Simona Bartolotta I'm somwhere halaway (oops :p). One thing that favourably struck me so far is Charlotte's appetite- YES. Finally a heroine who shamelessly indulges her stomach! It's a pleasure to see her display her love for a good slice of plum cake ahah :)


Katerina Kondrenko This girl actually eats? Finally! My kind of a heroine))


Simona Bartolotta She does! And t's so refreshing and relatable :D


Nastassja Ahaha, good speed, Simona)) I am sure Vera will come back after the weekend with the finished book too :D


Yes, I do really like that about Charlotte too, (view spoiler). But I am almost in the beginning and can't yet make a full portrait of Charlotte's character.


Nastassja Medini wrote: "Wow thank you Simona and Nastassja for bringing this to my notice :))"

You are welcome, dear)) Sherry Thomas is a wonderful writer. I highly recommend her books!


message 16: by Vira (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vira I'm somewhere in the last third of the book too and I enjoy Charlotte as a character - not as a person, mind you, but as a character. Livia is a good friend material but rather unexciting. I also fancy one particular lord, who turned to be much more intriguing than I thought at the beginning. And the mystery! I love it that I have no idea who's the villain!


Katerina Kondrenko You all make me jealous! I will read all night to keep up with you)


Simona Bartolotta Vira wrote: "I'm somewhere in the last third of the book too and I enjoy Charlotte as a character - not as a person, mind you, but as a character. Livia is a good friend material but rather unexciting. I also f..."

Yes! Livia was a real cutie pie in the first part but since we didn't see much of her afterwards, the little interest she raised disappeared, I'm afraid :/


Sooo it seems I finished it XD I will save the more detailed comments for when we are all done but generally speaking I'm a little disappointed. Sherry always has a magnificent style though, reading her it's such a pleasure!


Katerina Kondrenko Simone, I'm only at 15% or so, but I'm a little (or more than a little?) bit bored. The writing style is awesome (though I feel like I'm kinda struggle with some phrases, and not because of words, but because of their order).


message 20: by Vira (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vira Simona wrote: "Vira wrote: "I'm somewhere in the last third of the book too and I enjoy Charlotte as a character - not as a person, mind you, but as a character. Livia is a good friend material but rather unexcit..."

Disappointed? Oh no... Is it the book in general or the ending? I still have about 50 pages left and I was really looking forward to what Thomas has prepared for us at the end.


Simona Bartolotta Vira wrote: "Simona wrote: "Vira wrote: "I'm somewhere in the last third of the book too and I enjoy Charlotte as a character - not as a person, mind you, but as a character. Livia is a good friend material but..."

The book in general I think- I had some problems with Charlotte's characterization and couldn't undersantad how but now I figured it out: she's supposed to be this great genius, but then there are some simple connections (not concerning the investigations) she can't do (view spoiler) I don't find that believable and that irked me a lot :/
The ending was satysfing, instead, though slightly...a anticlimactic? I still have to order my thoughts, but generally speaking the ending was not bad :)

Katerina wrote: "Simone, I'm only at 15% or so, but I'm a little (or more than a little?) bit bored. The writing style is awesome (though I feel like I'm kinda struggle with some phrases, and not because of words, ..."

I got bored somewhere in the middle, can't exactly recall when or what they were doing- but in general my attention caught up again after that. Hope it's the same for you! You can do it! :D


message 22: by P (new)

P I like the cover, Simona :)


Nastassja Oh well, I am not really invested in the story so far. As we discussed before, there's something off with Charlotte as a narrator and now that you've mentioned, Simona, there's going to be less Liv in the second part of the book, I am a little bit sad, because I really like her voice.

@ Kat, agree about some words. I seem to reread some phrases a few times because their meaning does not stand in place at once, though I can't put my finger on it: is it the words' order or writing style suiting the era the book takes place in.


Katerina Kondrenko Oh, thank god, I'm not the only one who struggles! I thought that might be my poor experience with historical novels, some nuances of those times or something. The very begging was especially confusing, I was re-reading a lot of sentences))


Simona Bartolotta @Kat Oh yes, at the beginning I couldn't figure out with how many characters we were dealing with and every time a name popped out had to go back to check if we'd already met him/her XD


Katerina Kondrenko Simona wrote: "@Kat Oh yes, at the beginning I couldn't figure out with how many characters we were dealing with and every time a name popped out had to go back to check if we'd already met him/her XD"

Exactly! I was so lost xD


Nastassja Second about the names! I am still not sure I mesmerized all characters and their role in the book. Might confuse some of them in the process and that will be indeed a poorly conducted deduction xD


message 28: by Katerina (last edited Aug 30, 2016 10:05AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Katerina Kondrenko Charlotte seems to be a guest in her own book
Exactly! Like, you wanna me care about your MC? How about giving me more of her?


Simona Bartolotta @Kat Exactly ç_ç There's nothing left but to drown the disappointment in alcohol... or in another book.


Katerina Kondrenko Make it happen, Cap'n!))


message 31: by Nastassja (last edited Aug 30, 2016 04:22PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nastassja So agree with every point you're made, Simona! Amazing reasoning! Agh, Charlotte indeed felt more like a secondary character and Treadles seems like the leading one. And Liv, oh Liv, I had such big plans for you. And you were cast in the furthest darkest corner too soon and too young. Rest in peace, potential character *minute of silence * Seriously, I wish this whole book was from her POV. Maybe then things could've been better.

Hmm, I feel Lord Ingram will be our main love interest after all. But honestly, though I found him nice, he did nothing for my nether parts :D

And that mystery... I didn't like either the turn it made. It left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. I guess Thomas wanted to impress us with this from good to bad side, but (view spoiler)


message 32: by Ginger (new) - added it

Ginger Lee I like the way you expressed your opinions.


message 33: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Beamer I agree with you very much and thought your review was well written. I also found several grammatical errors (how does this happen?) and MANY places where the narrative jumped to a new topic, leaving me wondering what was going on. So in addition to all your points, I found the writing spotty.


Hannah I don't agree about the overturning of the victim's image. It is often that people like him are only found out after one person tips the scale, especially in the 19th century when the image of "great men" was more protected by the discretion of others. Before that, they are often found trustworthy, charming, etc, so that was believable to me.

I also can see where you were frustrated not having more of Charlotte. For me, as a reader with a tendency to like side characters better anyway, having so many characters at the loss of the main was not a detriment. Different reading styles, different fans, and such.


message 35: by Jane (new)

Jane Thank you for an excellent review. I shall now be able to move this one further down my TBR list without much concern.


Nadine Bonny-Taylor I love it!!!! Yes I was confused with the names especially with Strickland and Sheridan if they were brothers why different last names; maybe due to the aristocratic title?
Anyways the inconsistency of Charlotte intelligence/deduction; I noticed it but did not bother me I know several people who are very intelligent but often so "dumb". I say that with a lot of love. Some genius and autistic people have that trait to; their intelligence won't shift/spread to all aspect of their lives.


message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan Big problem number one with your review: Did it ever cross your mind that Charlotte Holmes is more than just some random genius of discernment? The book gives you EVERY clue to what is going on with Charlotte Holmes, and you totally ignored it! Might I say Bernadine and Livia to you? Did it ever cross your mind that there was a REASON for their characters and their mannerisms? If you consider for a moment that Bernadine might be severely low functioning autistic, then might it make sense that both Livia and, even more so, Charlotte, might be high functioning autistic, what used to be denoted as Asperger's? People with Asperger's have curious...blind spots where understanding the behavior of people are concerned. You might want to do some research into autism, specifically high functioning autism, then maybe read the book again; I think you missed the point entirely!


message 38: by Simona (last edited Oct 24, 2017 11:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Simona Bartolotta Susan wrote: "Big problem number one with your review: Did it ever cross your mind that Charlotte Holmes is more than just some random genius of discernment? The book gives you EVERY clue to what is going on wit..."

I'm afraid I must ask you to tone it down a little, Susan. Your comment is very insightful and as Nadine before you suggested too, indeed Charlotte could be autistic. (I don't honestly remember who Bernadine is and can recall Livia just barely, as I've read the book more than a year ago. I apologize.) However, it seems to me a bit unlikely that to be the case because I've read the book with three other people and none of us ever came up with that, and above all because none of the (many) reviews I've read (back then when the book came out and even more recently) stated that as a fact or even as a possibility. Has Sherry Thomas said anything in this regard? I confess I would like this explanation very much, but as long as there is no proof or statement by the author that the character is autistic or has some condition of this kind, I don't believe it's reasonable to proceed on that assumption.
(Moreover, if she has this condition and such a small number of people has noticed, maybe the depiction was ineffective? But this is another issue to tackle in case of confirmation of the hypothesis.)
Thank you again for your comment!


message 39: by Shoshana (new)

Shoshana popping into this several months late, but i also got the definite impression that both Bernadine and Charlotte were on the autism spectrum. not sure how that went over all three of your heads, because it seemed immediately obvious to me. i thought it was a good choice to make it more subtle rather than hitting us over the head with it. i wouldn't put livia on the spectrum, though, i think that's a reach.


Erynn A ntoe about ehr apparent inconsistancy; brilliance is not, by any stretch universal. We had the USA's top neurosurgeon claim the pyramids were grain silos a few years ago.
Point is... she's autistic, basically. REALLY autistic. What seems inconssitant resembles, strongly, every socially competent autistic women I ever met.


Lynne Yes, I think that's a given. There is much to support this, Charlotte is challenged in every possible social situation. I don't think the author needs to put a label on it to make it clear. Many people mention in their reviews being irked by the pickpocket scene, but anyone regardless of their intellect can become of victim like this, and the fact that it occurred during a social interaction makes it all the more believable.


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