“I really enjoyed reading Secret Letters. The plot was quite good, and the characters were amazing.
Didn’t Like It
“Contains support for abortion more than halfway through the book. Other than that, it was OK for most teens or preteens. Entertaining.”see full review » see other reviews »
“ I really enjoyed reading Secret Letters. The plot was quite good, and the characters were amazing.
I'm hoping that its sequel comes out soon; the story needs to go on!”
“Review at: http://booksinthespotlight.blogspot.com/2012/11/secret-letters.html”Cullengirl l wrote this review Thursday, November 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Entertaining YA mystery”Danielle I wrote this review Saturday, September 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”Kayleigh wrote this review Wednesday, September 12, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A very good book. It was well written and it was very Sherlock! :D”~♥~Alex Renner(Daughter of Jeremy Renner)~Gentlemen! We do not stop 'til nightfall.- Aragorn~♥~ wrote this review Wednesday, September 5, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Contains support for abortion more than halfway through the book. Other than that, it was OK for most teens or preteens. Entertaining.”Tamara wrote this review Tuesday, August 14, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Originally reviewed [a href="http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/2012/07/lady-backnell-charlie-mole.html"]here[/a].
What a fun read this was! It's chock full of things that I like, such as a spunky heroine, romance, literary references and a mystery. I went into this one without any expectations and was definitely pleasantly surprised to find what a joy it was. If you enjoy period piece dramas and mysteries, you will not want to miss Secret Letters.
My favorite part of the book was definitely the two main characters Dora Joyce and Peter Cartwright. Dora is a regular firebrand. Despite being a lady of quality, she constantly ignores what a woman in her station is supposed to do, which may not be super believable (at least her getting away with it) but is definitely fun. Definitely not faint of heart, Dora is a powerful heroine, willing to get her hands dirty, clever and sassy.
Dora came to London to help her cousin enlist the aid of Sherlock Holmes in catching a blackmailer, but Dora also has a plan of her own: to tell Sherlock that he is her biological father. Unfortunately, he has been killed elsewhere and she will not get to do that. Actually, the Sherlock Holmes connection was the one part of the book I wasn't really cool with. I love literary references and books about books, but I thought that this fell into the unclear border where it doesn't quite make sense. In this world, Sherlock Holmes is a real detective, BUT the novels about him also still exist. Did he write them? Did Watson? If it was Watson, where is he? Anyway, since this was really only the inspiring idea and not a huge part of the story, I just got over it.
Anyway, her cousin enlists the aid of young Peter Cartwright and his boss in her case, and Dora, unable to stop researching, becomes inextricably bound up in the case. Peter and Dora have totally awesome chemistry. I love the way that they interact, flirting by making fun of one another and trying to one up each other with their sleuthing skills. They definitely felt like they had a real connection, and it was super charming.
Another aspect that I really loved was when Dora went undercover as a maid in a giant estate in an effort to solve the mystery. This part definitely had a Downton Abbey feel to it, so I was ALL OVER IT. There's even an unscrupulous butler, who I totally pictured as Thomas even though he's blonde and straight. The drama and scandal of life above and below stairs was great, and definitely satisfying.
The mystery parts weren't bad, although the guilty party was all kinds of not surprising. For me, this was definitely more about the setting and characters than the plot points. Watching the two detectives try to ferret out clues, though, was definitely entertaining, especially when things would go a little bit awry.
If you're looking for a fun read with an inquisitive heroine, look no further! The ending definitely seems like Scheier could write more books in this world at some point if she wanted to. I'm up for that or whatever Scheier does next!”
“Prior to this year, I had never read a book about a plucky female heroine who bucks her Victorian Age traditions and tries to solve mysteries on her own. But that's been rectified, first with A Spy in the House, and then Wrapped, and now Secret Letters. While there are definite similarities between the three books, the mysteries and characters were all different enough that I wasn't nitpicking those likenesses or really comparing the three. If you're looking for historical accuracy in terms of girls not dressing as boys or going out without a chaperon, then Secret Letters is probably your best bet, although there were still some moments where I needed to suspend my disbelief.
Secret Letters tells the story of Dora, who has found out that she's actually the daughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes. When her cousin's secret love letters to a past music tutor turn up missing and the focus of a blackmail scheme, Dora travels with Adelaide to London to seek out the expertise of said famous detective, but when circumstances conspire to keep them from meeting him, they fall in with another detective and his handsome assistant, Peter Cartwright. When it becomes apparent that Adelaide's letters are also tied up in the mystery of a missing heiress, Cartwright decides to have Dora go undercover as a scullery maid in an earl's home to suss out the truth. And that's the bit that required me to suspend my disbelief a bit, because Dora has been raised as a proper lady (even though she notices far too much for said propriety), and working as a scullery maid could damage her reputation beyond repair. But Dora is a willing participant in this plan, because she fancies herself a bit of an amateur detective, and also because she wants to retrieve Adelaide's letters (plus, you know, Peter kind of showed her up and she wants to get a bit of her own back).
I couldn't help but love Dora. She is inquisitive, intelligent, and willing to break away from tradition a bit in terms of her actions. She also has a kind heart, although she can be kind of thoughtlessly cruel, and even more cruel when she means to be. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where she's at the earl's home pretending to be a scullery maid, for she gets into some tight spots and actually does some things that could have gotten her cover blown. But this is where her creativity and cleverness shine through, because she figures out ways to get the information she needs, even if she can't put two and two together right away. And anyone who winds up dancing on a bartop and singing bawdy songs at the top of her lungs can't be all bad, right?
There is a bit of romance in the book between Dora and Peter, but it was well-paced and actually more of an antagonistic-type relationship, which I'm not always a fan of but worked well here, mostly because Dora is just so headstrong. I liked watching them work together and the ways they tried to figure each other out. They both had incredible wit and charm, and made me laugh several times over. Plus there are hints that Peter has had to deal with some type of tragedy, and while you do find out what it is at the end, he played the whole "wounded hero trying to hide his pain behind a humorous exterior" quite well.
While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't perfect. The mystery is solid, but I'd guessed the villain about midway through, although not the motivations. And also, the whole deal with Adelaide's letters is never exactly explained, which, considering that this is the whole reason why Dora initially gets involved, it would have been nice to have some sort of wrap-up with that. There's also a bit of a Scooby Doo-ish reveal in which the truth comes out, which was a bit over the top for me personally. But Dora's adventures and the relationship with Peter definitely saved it enough for me to give the book four solid stars.
If you like your historical fiction a bit more historical with less girls dressing as boys and running amok in Victorian England, then this is probably the one for you. You'll need to suspend your disbelief just a bit, but I think Dora's spirit will capture any reader enough to get you interested and invested in the book. And the slight romance doesn't hurt, either. Secret Letters will be released on June 26th, 2012 in North America. If you like plucky young heroines, definitely give it a read!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ”