Top Ten Summer Read: Opium in London
Mad Miss Mimic - Sarah Henstra
Set in London, England, in the year 1872, Mad Miss Mimic tells the story of the young and beautiful heiress Leonora Somerville -- Leo to her friends -- who is struggling with a unique predicament. A strange speech impediment causes her to stutter terribly whenever she tries to speak in her own voice, but also gives her the ability to imitate other people's voices and manner of speaking flawlessly, particularly at the worst possible moments. Behind her back, servants and ladies dub her "Mad Miss Mimic," and watch as Leo unintentionally scares off one potential husband after another.
Meanwhile, as Leo tries to keep her mimicry under control, the city of London is the grip of opium fever. Her brother-in-law, Dr. Daniel Dewhurst, and his new business partner, Francis Thornfax, are attempting to patent an injectable form of the highly addictive drug. Friendly, approachable, and handsome to boot, Thornfax seems to be a good fit for Leo, and doesn't seem to mind her strange verbal outbursts. But not everything is as it seems. Explosions are happening across the city, all set off by a mysterious gang known as the Black Glove. The poor people Dr. Dewhurst is treating in his clinic are dying from drug overdoses. And then there's the mysterious Tom Rampling, a working-class boy that Leo encountered and can't seem to get out of her head. Is there a connection between the Black Glove's attacks, the doctor's dangerous cure, Tom's possibly criminal past, and Thornfax's political ambitions? Leo must use all of her skills -- including those of "Mad Miss Mimic" -- to put all the pieces of this mystery together, as well as find her own voice, in this intriguing and fast-paced story.
Mad Miss Mimic is a wonderfully exciting novel that takes aspects from actual historical incidents and blends them with a cast of characters that absolutely pop off the page. I loved reading about Leo's adventures on the streets of nineteenth century London, and I really liked how the author used historically accurate language to help create the scenes. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys works of historical fiction combined with a jolly good mystery story.
This is also available for download in eBook format.
To learn more about author Sarah Henstra, check out her website here.
What are some of your favourite mystery or historical novels?
And what are some favourite Britishisms that you've read or heard?
Let me know in the comments below. :)