Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Series Review: The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency by Jordan Stratford
I'm a sucker for historical mysteries, spunky heroines, and middle grade mysteries, so it was pretty much a case of love at first sight as soon as I opened the envelope and The Case of the Girl in Grey fell into my hands.
Of course, then I realized it was the second book in the series, so I groaned and contemplated reading the second book first. Which is something I never do. That's a book sin I put right up there with dog-earing, but such was the depth of my desire to dive right into this series (I don't do patience very well).
Thankfully, I restrained myself and turned to the library, and the library came through for me. Sidebar? Much as I love real hold-in-my-hands books, there is nothing like an e-library for perfectly meeting my needs of instant gratification and laziness.
So, needless to say I flew through these books and I'm toe-tappingly annoyed that there aren't any more for me to read because I adore them (auto-buy kind of love). These are the types of books that make me want to use words and phrases like "delightful" and "bosom friends." Jordan Stratford's writing really is a cut above and that makes all the difference. The books are both tiny with super short chapters, and yet there was so much depth and substance. The illustrations peppered throughout fit perfectly and I looked forward to each one. Strongly recommended for fans of the Theodosia Throckmorton series.
Oh, also, the characters in this series are real historical figures, but their ages and timelines have been turned all kinds of topsy-turvey. Normally I should hate this because you know how I feel about messing with history. But, for some reason, I really don't mind it here at all. Maybe it's because Jordan Stratford does such a good job at making these characters that I couldn't imagine them (or don't want to imagine them) otherwise? I don't know. There is a historical note at the end and he's very upfront about all the changes, so young readers won't be led astray.
The Case of the Missing Moonstone
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The cast starts out smaller, introducing first Ada and then Mary and Peebs. Ada is the kind of character that might otherwise annoy me because she's just...odd. But the nuances of her personality and her friendship with Mary make Ada a character with depth, and that depth makes all the difference between "irritating stock character" and "beloved friend." Mary just seems straight out fun and Peebs is the kind of hapless character I just want to hug. The mystery was entertaining and, even though I would have been into the story for the characters alone, the mystery stands up just as well.
Received: Finished copy from the publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The cast gets bigger with the additions of both Mary and Ada's younger sisters. I can't say I'm much of a fan of either, but somehow that seemed to work. I found them annoying and yet still entirely lovable. I guess kind of like how little sisters can be.
Still, I didn't love how this did take some attention away from Ada and Mary and their friendship. Taken in the context of the larger series, though, I don't think this will be a problem since we'll have plenty of time to explore all the characters.
The mystery here is just as good as the first book and I was happy to see Charles (as in, Dickens) get to play a part in the sleuthing. I love how the mysteries pay homage to classic Gothic and mystery tales while still feeling fresh and unpredictable. I really can't rave about this series enough.