Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: A Study in Silks

A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair #1)
Emma Jane Holloway

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Book Description:
Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Egalley courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra via NetGalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

A Study in Silks is a charming, steampunk murder mystery from a debut author Emma Jane Holloway, which I was fortunate enough to read ahead of its release date. Having read the description on the NetGalley website, I had to click the request button at once. What more one can wish for? It seemed this was a perfect book for me. Set in an alternate Victorian England, where steam barons essentially claimed the power to rule, and hold the nobility at their whim, the on-set of war seems to be imminent. But nothing as simple as it first appears. Sorcery and magic are prohibited by the empire, yet everyone yearns to combine magic and machine together, creating a powerful weapon that perhaps can tip the scales…

Evelina Cooper, niece to renowned detective Sherlock Holmes, is a guest at Lord Bancroft’s house, having befriended his daughter, Imogen, while at school. The two young ladies are about to spend their first Season in London’s high society. Of course, when one of the maids shows up dead at the house, Evelina cannot ignore such an event, and to Lord Bancroft’s displeasure begins her investigation.

Imagine, what if the legendary Sherlock Holmes lived in a world filled with magic that was far more real and less explainable than what we’ve come to expect of the detective? And, his niece had magical powers of her own? I can certainly see how Evelina can fit in so perfectly. Yes, perhaps this is not as authentic as Sherlock Holmes can get, but Ms. Holloway has certainly created something special here. Within this mash-up of genres and events there is a truly enjoyable story, and some very interesting characters, plus two dashing young men to compete for our heroine’s affections. I am not usually one for love-triangles but it worked quite well here. Both Nick and Tobias were charming and adventurous in their own ways, and until the very end, I couldn’t quite decide which one was the perfect choice, or if neither were in Evelina’s future – only time will tell…

Between some very mysterious automatons, the murders, power struggles, a collection of villainous figures to choose from, affairs of the heart, and one mechanical octopus that managed to make quite a splash, there were plenty of things to keep the story lively and myself racing through the pages. With two follow-up novels close on the horizon I am definitely looking forward to Evelina’s new adventures. Ms. Holloway, you certainly got my attention!


  1. Good to know it was a decent read, Vika! I'm keeping it on my wishlist :) Plus the other two books will be released soon as well.

    1. Yes! I was pleasantly surprised. I think it was a good read overall. I enjoyed the story and the characters, and the premise of it. I especially love the fact that the follow-up novels will be available within couple months of each other. :)


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