Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade by Nancy Springer

Disclaimer: Snaps to the publisher and to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Synapsis: Our sassy, headstrong teenage sleuth, Enola Holmes, is practically all grown up! Where does the time go? She’s living independently in a boarding house of sorts with a bunch of likeminded women who refuse to bow down to the patriarchy—YA YA, sistas! This time around, she’s on a mission to rescue her good friend Lady Cecily, who’s on the run from her nefarious father/prison guard. It’s up to Enola to rescue her poor friend from a life of sadness and confinement.  

What I liked: If you’re a fan of audiobooks, the narrator is top notch! Also, it’s just a little over four hours long—perfect for those long commutes.  Also, the cover art is gorgeous!

Thoughts on the mystery: Actually…correct me if I’m wrong, but this isn’t really a mystery, is it? From what I gather, this is just a wild goose chase for a mentally ill girl who is trying to escape the clutches of her sinister father. I mean…I guess there was sort of mystery happening on the down low regarding the father’s side-hustle, but really this story is just one big chase scene across the streets of London. I couldn’t’ really get into it, mainly because Cecily wouldn’t let anyone help her. Also, I’m just pain exhausted.

Thoughts on the main character: Enola is everything a young girl should strive to be—and more. She’s bright, ambitious, headstrong and always up for a challenge. But here’s the thing: Enola—and so many other Victorian era characters crafted by modern day writers—is highly anachronistic. It’s nice to think that women back then so brazenly fought against the patriarchy, took their careers by the horns and championed social justice with the moxie of a 21st century feminist. But let’s be honest; aside from a few exceptions, this was not the norm. It also gives young readers a very skewed version of women’s history. I’ve seen this trope in so many other Victorian era mysteries and it’s rather annoying. I think these books would be more believable if these characters were plopped into Victorian London via a time machine. Otherwise, it’s kind of hard for me to buy any of this.

Pro tip: I read this out of sequence and quickly learned these books need to be read in chronological order. Do not attempt to read this as a standalone because you will get lost!  

Fun trivia fact: Did you know that left-handed women were considered unhinged and untrustworthy back in the day? That’s just one fun fact I learned while reading about the ambidextrous Lady Cecily.

Overall: If you’re a fan of this series, this book is for you. Enola is just as quirky as ever and always two steps ahead of her famous brother. However, if you’re looking for a good whodunnit, you’ll be sorely disappointed in this installment.

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