Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Synopsis: 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.
Mad Miss Mimic is being hyped as a cross between Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle, and while I wouldn’t go that far, I still found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable historical thriller with a truly unique and likable heroine. Leonora’s stuttering impediment takes an imaginative turn with the appearance of Mimic who sort of takes on a personality of her own. Set in 1872, the treatments that are tried on Leo in order to cure her affliction will leave you thanking God that we are in the 21st century! Leo is highly representative of the majority of women during the Victorian era as even those in the upper echelon of the gentry, were trapped in the roles handed to them by a patriarchal society. In the beginning of the story Leo is eager to please her sister and brother-in-law who have taken her in after the death of her father. Her sister Cristabel delights in putting her down and reminding her what a burden she is, which did start getting on my nerves, but thankfully it’s not far into the book when Leo discovers there is something seriously amiss at Hastings House, and as she begins to investigate, she also develops a backbone. As events unfold she struggles with listening to her conscience or taking the easier route and ignoring what is happening. She teams up with Tom Rampling, her physician brother-in-law’s lower class assistant, and in addition to the chemistry between them being undeniable, they also bring out the best in each other. The secondary characters further flesh out the story, especially Leo’s spiteful, drug addicted sister Cristabel, her weak-willed and greedy brother-in-law, and the charmingly handsome but villainous Mr. Thornfax. The plot is a tad predictable but still entertaining, and it moves along briskly right up until the satisfying conclusion. Overall, Mad Miss Mimic is an engrossing page-turner that will appeal to older teens and adults who like historical thrillers.