Review: Charlotte's Cases by Valerie Walland
Author: Valerie Walland
Publisher: Pen Press
Labels: Mystery, Historical Fiction, 19th Century, England
Age: Adult, but suitable for young adult
Rating: 4 Stars
London, England 1886.
Charlotte Worledge dedicated most of her adult life to caring for her ill mother. After her mother's death, Charlotte at age 31 becomes independently wealthy. Charlotte ponders her life, realizing that for the first time she has the ability to decide her future. She begins by updating and decorating her home. Next, she wonders what she will do with her new freedom. Her deceased father had been a solicitor, often working cases that required investigative work. Charlotte quickly becomes involved in working a case for Sarah a housemaid. Sarah's friend George has been accused of stealing at his job. Charlotte is a patient, intelligent, precise, and savvy young woman. These character traits help to make her a great detective.
- The opening paragraph set the tone of the novel. It was a perfect introduction to a woman who'd dedicated her life thus far to caring for her invalid mother. Charlotte gave me the impression she was loyal, steadfast, stoic, and mature. She is a character of integrity. The opening paragraph also told me she was like a newly released prisoner: she noticed the sunshine, the bright colors of nature, and the vivid colors of clothing attire and street life. I felt drawn to Charlotte, because I was given an intimate look at her life, feelings, demeanor, and hope for a new future of freedom.
- Several cases are presented in the book for Charlotte to investigate.
- Her assistants are her house staff. I believe that by using ordinary working house staff this made the book approachable, settled, realistic. Charlotte is not a "put-on" she is level-headed and unprejudiced.
- There were a few surprises, both in Charlotte's personal life, and in the serious nature of some of her investigative work.
- Charlotte could have become a needy dependent woman because of her closeted-off life while caring for her mother. Instead I saw a metamorphosis of her personality.
- Charlotte is both stoic and reserved, and this could easily become too bland or mediocre. There were a "few" scenes when I would have liked the author to bring me in a bit closer to the Charlotte behind that calm exterior.
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