Book Review ~ Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

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Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London Society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock Holmes’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.


Historical Romance and Mystery with a hint of Magic, A Study in Silks is an epic Steampunk Fantasy which adds a new level to the typical read in the genre. Holloway has created an intriguing character in Evelina ~ the mesh between circus training, gypsy magic, and high society works well and creates an unforgettable character. But Evelina is not a caricature. A clever wit, pointed honesty, and deductive reasoning combine with an indecisive nature and round out her personality making her only one of many memorable characters in this story.

The author does a fabulous job of immersing the reader in the culture, setting, and costumes of the time period, as well as keeping us grounded in the mores of Victorian England. But with the steam barons, automatons, and clever contraptions we find there to continuously remind us that this is not our history, but an alternative worth visiting again. I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure with Sherlock Holmes’s niece, and am loathe to leave her side. I became as enamored with her as her own devas. And with Nick’s latest acquisition, I must see if his sudden vision for his future will come to fruition. Onward to book two!
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