A Study in Darkness (Baskerville Affair #2)
Emma Jane Holloway
Published: Oct. 29, 2013 (Del-Rey)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: Provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Note: While this review is spoiler free, it does assume you’ve read A Study in Silks.
It’s been four months since Evelina Cooper was thrown out of Hilliard House. Four months since Tobias Roth told her he loved her and then lied and said he didn’t, four months since Nick disappeared with Athena’s Casket, four months since she’d seen Imogen.
Four very long, very boring months.
Her return to London and her uncle Sherlock’s home couldn’t have been more explosive. Literally. Someone tried to blow up 221B Baker Street while Sherlock was still in it, prompting Sherlock to insist Evie take the invitation issued by Imogen to come to Keating’s new country estate. The last thing Evelina wants to do is run into Tobias, but she misses her friend, so she accepts.
A day after she arrives, she finds herself ensconced in Whitechapel.
Things move pretty quickly at times in A Study in Darkness. Finding herself in debt to the Gold King, Jasper Keating, Evelina’s looking for the answers he seeks in the tenements and crooked streets of Whitechapel. Despite the danger and poverty on every corner, Evelina finally feels free – or free-ish, because she’s able to work with her hands, to explore her fascination with clockworks and machines in general without the fear it’s too unladylike. And she’s getting the magic lessons her Gran Cooper never got a chance to provide, which makes her ecstatic, even if the man providing the lessons isn’t one she’s willing to trust.
Some of the strings left dangling at the end of A Study in Silks are tied up. Evie makes her choice when it comes to Nick and Tobias (and I may have squealed a little when she did it). The deep, wildly passionate relationship hinted at in Silks between Evie and a certain circus performer is explored in more detail here, and there’s a satisfying sense of rightness about it (okay, fine, I DID squeal. And smile. And giggle with relief.) The task the Gold King set her on is never very far from the page, and Holloway does a great job of intertwining it with her interpretation of the Whitechapel Murders (a.k.a. those murders perpetrated by Jack the Ripper). I particularly liked that part – it was original and intriguing and fit well with the world she’s created here.
While there were still too many points of view for my taste, there weren’t as many shifts between them. The narrative focuses mainly on Evelina and Nick, and how their paths intersect. Things are ramping up for a confrontation between the rebels and the Steam Council, and the two of them are caught in the middle of it, though neither set out to do so.
That conflict, and finding out how Nick and Evelina’s relationship will evolve, will have me going back for more when A Study in Ashes is released in December.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex