Last summer I became addicted to Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series. I just finished the entire collection. It was the perfect light summer reading. To be honest, it took me a bit to get into the first book, but by the end I was hooked. It wasn't difficult really since I am a fan of mysteries of all kinds so long as they are not too scary.
Enola Holmes is Sherlock Holmes' younger sister. Their mother left to live with the Gypsies when Enola was 14 years old. When Sherlock and their older brother, Mycroft, intended to send her off to boarding school to become 'a proper lady', she was forced to run away. Enola moved to London where she set up a detective agency of her own (under a pseudonym) that focused on finding missing people. At times she was in direct competition with Sherlock. At all times she must be wary of being tricked and dragged back home and off to school by her brothers.
I love this 'what if' take on the Sherlock Holmes classic. It has a great character in Enola Holmes who is a spunky, smart, and independent. She is an excellent role model for girls in our times. I love that she has a social conscience and tries to help out the many poor and disadvantaged in 19th century London. I am impressed by how she uses disguises to fit into the different parts of London in order to solve her cases and save the day. What I especially enjoyed is that while Enola is seen by herself and others as rather homely, she is capable of using great artifice to make herself so beautiful that her brothers do not recognize her. This is a delightful dig at 19th century as well as more modern conceptions of beauty.
On top of all this the stories have great plots filled with all kinds fabulous secondary characters.
I was heartbroken when I finished the series. It felt like saying goodbye to a new friend.