In her debut novel, author Sarah Henstra introduces to us a tale of romance, mystery, and adventure.
From a young age, Leonora Somerville has suffered from a terrible stutter. But what is especially peculiar is that along with this speech impediment is the ability to mimic the voices of others flawlessly. Unable to control who or when she imitates, Leo is christened Mad Miss Mimic, and is underestimated as a seventeen- year-old heiress living in 1872, London.
As the city becomes gripped with opium fever, brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst endeavours to create an injectable form of the drug, with the help of his business partner Mr. Thornfax. The attention of the latter is soon caught by Leo, but her heart struggles when Tom Rampling, the doctor’s working class boy, begins to frequent her thoughts and always seems to be near. But when an opium gang known as the Black Glove begins to terrorize London with explosions, Leo must find the relations between these attacks and Dr. Dewhurst’s cure, as well as the truth about her two love interests, in order to solve this captivating mystery.
Mad Miss Mimic was an incredibly spellbinding tale, beginning with the gripping introduction, all the way to the characters and the riveting plot. The fact that it was set in first person alone was enough to make it a thrilling page-turner, as readers thrive to learn more about Leonora’s story, when ironically her words fail to speak it out loud. And although this novel was set nearly two centuries ago, the message will forever remain the same: we all have problems and insecurities, but we’re always able to overcome them and settle comfortably into our own skin, as Leo struggles to accept but finally learns is possible.
The vocabulary exhibited was enriching yet refreshing, a welcomed change from today’s display of modernized literature. I felt as if I were in the very room, the descriptive settings seeming to just rise from the page, brought to life by the reader and the author. It was incredibly well written, each word being used historically accurate, graceful and enthralling. It had the writing of a classic but all the characteristics of a great YA.
In this new and engaging read, adults and teenagers alike will find themselves immersed with Leonora’s story, and what it means to find your own voice.
Check out the author interview I did with Sarah Henstra featured on TPL Teens!