I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Mad Miss Mimic
Author: Sarah Henstra
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Publication Date: January 3, 2017 (Paperback)
Summary (from Goodreads): Jane Austen meets Arthur Conan Doyle in a historical fiction debut for fans of Ruta Sepetys and Elizabeth Wein.
Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back… and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo…but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations – but to do so, she must first find her voice.
It is not often that I read a book and come away feeling enlightened and entertained at the same time. Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra is an historical fiction that packs quite a punch. It encompasses a step back in time, while providing its readers with a thrilling mystery and a slow burning romance. The main character, Leo, is relatable, quirky and full of spunk, making this book one of my favourite reads of 2016!
Historical fiction is not typically a genre that I gravitate to, but there is something quite intriguing about the concept of this mysterious Black Glove society and its connection to an underground drug trade. It is kind of like Breaking Bad in the late 1800s. Henstra has woven a complex story that keeps the reader engaged and on the edge of their seats as this story of terror and secrecy unfolds. It is hard to put this one down!
As the synopsis indicates, Leo is from quite a wealthy background and she is seeking a suitor at the desperation of her sister who wants to marry her off. Unfortunately, Leo’s speech disorder is very intimidating for many in the book. However, Tom, who is one of the assistants to her brother-in-law, slowly becomes a forbidden love interest for Leo. Due to their different classes in society, both characters try to deny their feelings for one another. It is such a beautiful part of the story that really shows the importance of being true to one’s self.
Leo has to be one of the most interesting characters that I have come across in YA. The time period in which the story is written makes a stuttering disorder quite a scandalous thing that many in Leo’s family try to hide. Despite the hardships she has to face due to her disability, Leo perseveres and it is so wonderful to see her unafraid and willing to fight for herself.
If you are looking for a unique and interesting read, I highly suggest Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra. The historical elements of this book add to the flavour of the story and create an interesting back drop for a mystery. I look forward to reading more of Henstra’s work!