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Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Title: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

A young girl with brown hair and white skin in a green dress stands in front of an old street with a black carriage behind her. The book is called Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Author: Nancy Springer

Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Published: 31st August 2021

Format: Paperback

Pages: 272

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: Enola Holmes is back! Nancy Springer’s internationally bestselling series and breakout Netflix sensation returns to beguile readers in Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche.

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’ – and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know – she’d feel – if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover – or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely – and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help – from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Enola Holmes returns in her first adventure since the hit Netflix movie brought her back on the bestseller lists, introducing a new generation to this beloved character and series.

~*~

Enola Holmes is back – and on the hunt for a missing girl, Felicity Glover, who has married an Earl and much like the Earl’s first wife, inexplicably disappeared. The Earl has informed the family that Flossie is dead, and due to the nature of her death, has been cremated. But her twin, Letitia -Tish – turns up to ask Enola to help her find Flossie, Enola turns to her brother, Sherlock for help. So they begin their search for Flossie with Tweky’s help, but will they find Flossie in time, or will things turn out to be worse than they thought?

This fun addition to the Enola Holmes series comes hot on the heels of the successful Netflix movie, and fits neatly into the rest of the series, continuing Enola’s adventures and mysteries as she works with her brother but also, on her own, showing that she can fit in with society but still finds ways to flout the rules – well-behaved, she is not, yet she uses her ability to act this way to fit in and give girls agency in a time when they typically didn’t, and show that even today, there will be instances were girls can be held back.

What Enola Holmes does is give the Sherlock Holmes stories a fresh breath of air, where female characters take centre stage. Enola and her friends cleverly use societal conventions and expectations of class and gender in Victorian times to their advantage, showing that girls and women could step outside the boundaries as they needed to, and showing that not all women would allow themselves to be constrained by what the men in their lives demanded of them. Indeed, it seems Sherlock has given up on ensuring Enola fits in with what society wants her to and goes along with, even encourages her plans – in a way that is genuine to the character and the new stories.

This is a fun series that has grown since it started, and shows that plucky female characters who are not necessarily well-behaved (at least when it comes to what society expects of them), but have a heart of gold and strong sense of justice are the ones that can be the most fun. The ones that we should be showing to our young readers and readers of all ages, because it allows us to see that we can step out of what is expected of us, and the world won’t fall apart if we dare to be different.

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