Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra is a YA historical mystery stand alone set in 1870s England.
“Jane Austen meets Arthur Conan Doyle in a historical fiction debut for fans of Ruta Sepetys and Elizabeth Wein.
Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back… and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo…but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations – but to do so, she must first find her voice.”
This book was highly enjoyable! I love historical fiction. I love mental health set in YA. And I love a mystery that has a hidden message in it. Mad Miss Mimic was an all-around great read!
The only thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was that there were some parts of the plot that were typical, YA cliché. This focused more on the love story aspect in that it was a little predictable, but it wasn’t so predictable that it ruined getting to see it play out. The author did a great job in having the development spaced out throughout the book.
I will have to say that this is another quick read for me. I read this during my finals week of college and my mind kept going back to the story because I was DYING to finish it! What I thought was unique were the last few chapters. You know those moments where the story seems to wrap up nicely, but then you realize you still have like ten pages left. Yep, this happened to me three or four times. It felt like the next page would be the ending, but then the author adds a little more to help finish all the aspects of the story that was built up to the moment. The author really made me feel satisfied by the time the book actually ended.
There was a ton of character development. The main character has a drastic change from the first to the last page: from heiress to independence. I loved the mental health aspect involving the speech impairment. It enjoyed reading how her whole manner of speaking switched instantly between characters. I never really caught on to the message until the very end on finding your own voice. I think that people who have a take on this issue would really enjoy this book.
Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I think that if the story was a little less YA-cliché then I would see myself giving it the full 5 stars. I loved the characters, and Sarah Henstra does a wonderful job bringing you into the senses of 1870s England. At moments, I had a historic asylum-feel to the story without those elements actually being in there explicably.
Published: 5 May 2015
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Genre: Young Adult Historical Mystery
How I Read It: Finished Copy from Publisher
**Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. All of my review content contains my opinion only and is not influenced in an way.**
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