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The Last of August

Review

The Last of August

Oh they’re back!  The dynamic duo as in Holmes and Watson --- that is, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson! Two teens who have, for better or worse, inherited a bit of their famous ancestors’ craziness, quirkiness and brilliance! If you happen to pick up this book before you’ve read book one, THE CHARLOTTE HOLMES INCIDENT, please go back and read it first.

Nothing is simple and nothing is “as it seems” in the worlds of Holmes and Watson. They are leaving a hectic and frightening school year behind them with hopes of taking a break. But their visit to Charlotte’s family in England does not go as expected. Suddenly they are in a whirlwind chase full of art forgers, a missing uncle, a mother who is being poisoned, people who are not who they seem and a mounting tension between the friends that…well, this is something the reader will want to explore. Let us just say, the relationship is wrought with some serious angst.

"The writing is brilliant, the dialogue sharp and every character beautifully realized. No question Cavallaro has done her homework on Doyle’s unforgettable stories...."

Charlotte at first glance, seems like a typical teenager. Her favorite non-color would be black. She can be snarky, is way too smart for her own good and likes being in control at all times. Like her grandfather three generations removed (Sherlock), she is brilliant and lives a bit in her own world. Jamie Watson, like his grandfather (the one and only Doctor Watson) three generations removed, finds Charlotte Holmes challenging, aggravating and totally irresistible. He can’t trust her, doesn’t trust what she says and doesn’t trust what she doesn’t say. She is a confusion to him and probably more so to herself. They bicker, they make each other angry and they love each other to pieces --- only they don’t always realize this thing about “love.”

Now lives are in peril because her mother is in danger and her favorite Uncle Leander is missing --- not just missing but could be dead and, then there’s the Moriarty family --- most especially there’s August.  Charlotte has been and still is, in her own way, obsessed with him! How do all these things tie in with the art forgeries? We learn, as does narrator Jamie, as much as possible through the confusion.

Charlotte does lend her voice after a nasty incident wherein Jamie is soundly beaten and unable to communicate for a while. Yet even to the unexpected end it is a game of trick mirrors, an encounter with shadows. Just as you think you know, you don’t know. Like Benedict and Martin’s PBS version, Cavallaro’s books are layered with messages and unexpected curves.

The writing is brilliant, the dialogue sharp and every character beautifully realized. No question Cavallaro has done her homework on Doyle’s unforgettable stories paying homage to them through two contemporary teens, Jamie and Charlotte.

Thanks goodness there’s book three on the horizon. It’s at the top of my list for a greatly anticipated read. Mark your calendars!

Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts on February 27, 2018

The Last of August
(Charlotte Holmes #2)
by Brittany Cavallaro