Monday, March 11, 2013

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

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 Secret Letters 
by Leah Scheier 
336 pages
ARC from TLA 2012
YA Historical Mystery
June 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin's ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits--and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective--to save her cousin's reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.
Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature. 

My Thoughts
Cousin Adelaide and I were traveling to London to chose from the latest fashions of the season. There would be receptions, concerts and balls, evening crammed with polite company and dinner parties, and I was simply dying to take part in all of it.
That is what my Aunt Ina believed, at any rate. (pg. 1)

I was very intrigued by the opening lines of this book and it opened up a mystery of why Dora and Adelaide were going to London. You soon learn that Dora is wanting to visit Sherlock Holmes for multiple reasons. The first to help her cousin retrieve letters from a blackmailer and second to see what her biological father is truly like. Scheier has a great premise for a Victorian mystery. There is nothing like letters for a blackmailing scheme! 
Dora is a spirited and smart girl who has frustrated her Aunt Ina with her constant deductions. In her trip to London she finds out that Sherlock Holmes has died in the Reichenbach Fall's incident and now is determined to solve her cousin's mystery herself. In steps Peter Cartwright and they throw witty banter at each other and try to one up each other in deductions. They have such good chemistry and are a great team when solving a mystery. I have listed this as a Downton Abbey read-a-like because Dora goes under cover as a scullery aid in a large manor. It has all the intrigue and downstairs politics as Downton Abbey with thrilling kidnappings and multiple blackmails.
This is a great historical fiction with a realistic feel of a Victorian mystery where manners rule. I really hope there is another book with Dora and Peter because there is enough there for more. Leah Scheier is a wonderful debut author and I look forward to more from her.  
Book Pairings 
Frozen by Mary Casanova
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Violins of Autumn  by

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