CW: PTSD, kidnapping, sick family member, and remembering drug abuse and sexual assault
- A Study in Charlotte – 4.5/5
As I expected when I wrote my First Lines Friday, I did finish it by the time it posted. So, you get to hear about this book two days in a row!
From the first chapter of A Study in Charlotte, I was hooked on the story and characters. This one? Not so much. It took a long time for me to get into it and right when I did, it felt like things were changing and moving at a pace I couldn’t get my head around.
It’s winter holidays and Jamie and Charlotte are back in England and end up at the Holmes estate. Immediately, you get a taste for the upbringing that Charlotte had. Cold. Unfeeling. Hard. It’s no wonder, really, that Charlotte loves her Uncle Leander so much, the Holmes who is close friends with Jamie’s father.
And then he disappears. The hunt is on to find out what happened and what’s going on.
Really, the story is torn in many different ways. There’s a lot going on.
One hand, there’s the disappearance of Leander that they’re trying to solve. That takes them all around the world and into the hands of some unsavory people. And, for me, it didn’t work. It was too convoluted and I found myself drawn to the other, more interpersonal, dynamics.
Such as, Charlotte continually trying to recover from her sexual assault. I loved that Cavallaro kept this in the forefront as Charlotte tries to discover who she is sexually, as well as confront PTSD. That also is a huge part of her dynamic with Jamie. He wants her, but he doesn’t want to hurt her or put her in a position like her rapist. And, I did love seeing sexuality in a positive light. It’s incredibly important to show healing and growth after trauma.
However, the fucking angst did me in. Goddamn. Like, it made me remember that this is a book targeted towards teenagers who feel romantic feelings. I’m not the target audience for that, but my god. I can handle teen angst and I can handle teen romantic angst. But, I just wanted them to get over themselves.
Then, there’s August Moriarty. I think Sherlock’s relationship with him makes me a whole lot of uncomfortable. I mean, the age gap is just squicky for me. I liked August as a character. He was an interesting mixture of Jamie and Charlotte, but I just couldn’t get behind him completely.
All of that being said, I really did enjoy this book. I loved reading the dynamics come into play. The Holmes interacting, Charlotte learning herself a bit more, Charlotte and Jamie becoming an item, Charlotte interacting with August. Obviously, for me, the focus is on Charlotte. Jamie is a fine character, but I find her perspective more interesting. It was just that the mystery and angst did me in.
And, after that damn cliffhanger, I can’t fucking wait to get into the third book to see what the next adventure is!
Have you gotten into this series?
Does teen angst kill your enjoyment?