📚 A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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Charlotte Holmes #1

Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2017

Narrators: Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
Length: 8h 41m
Publisher: HarperAudio⎮2016

3.5★ AudiobookI began listening to this last year and got about a fourth of the way through it before tabling it. After picking it up a few months later, I was finally able to get through it, but I’ll always remember A Study In Charlotte for what it could have been.

Let’s start with something positive: I love the concept of the original Holmes’ and Watson’s descendents following in their footsteps. Love it. And I love it even more that the Holmes in this incarnation is a woman. Charlotte is brilliant. The parallels between her and Sherlock (her 5x great-grandfather) are fascinating, as are the rich family histories. That is an area that I wish had been more fully explored.

The character development was so “almost there, but not quite” that I found it a tad bit frustrating. There’s so much potential with these main characters and the vastness of their ancestry that it seems a shame for Cavallaro to have rushed it, barely bothering to skim the surface. I wanted to know so much more about these families, but I can understand if Cavallaro is waiting to reveal more further into the series.

What I can’t get past is the dullness of the mystery. When I think about what was missing from the story, my complaints land squarely on the mystery aspect of the plot. For a title that is labeled as a Mystery/Thriller, A Study In Charlotte was neither thrilling or particularly mysterious. Although I didn’t guess the ending, I also had no desire to even try. So much of this story was centered around driving the mystery plot forward (at the expense of other elements) that the mystery’s flaccidity caused a nearly total lack of interest on my part. In short, A Study In Charlotte  lacked enough intrigue to warrant much of an emotional investment from me.

However, the larger concept behind these characters interests me enough that I’m willing to pick up The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2). I’m hoping that the mystery surrounding the second book’s events will prove to be more gripping than the first’s.

Narration review: I think a large part of my difficulty connecting with the story stemmed from its narration. I have heard and enjoyed Graham Halstead‘s work before. He is a superb narrator, however, I don’t think he was the right choice for A Study In Charlotte. I just couldn’t find him believable as Jamie or Charlotte. For Jamie, Halstead sounded far too mature and his voicing of Charlotte came across as extremely awkward and unnatural. As already stated, I know Halstead is a capable narrator, but (in my opinion) this role was wrong for him.

I spent about 8 hours and 31 minutes wondering when the heck Julia Whelan would appear. When beginning this audiobook, I assumed it would be narrated in alternate chapters (Halstead as Jamie and Whelan as Charlotte) and, I have to say, I wish it had been. But that isn’t how this book was written. It’s told almost completely from Jamie’s point-of-view. However, Julia Whelan managed to steal the show in the final 10 minutes and save my opinion Charlotte Holmes in the process. That probably isn’t fair to Mr. Halstead, who performed the first 8.5 hours, but it’s still true. I’m looking forward to seeing how the POV chapters (and therefore narration) will be divided in the next installment. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository

 

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