Publication: May 5, 2015, by Penguin Canada
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Romance
London, 1872. Seventeen-year-old heiress Leonora Somerville is preparing to be presented to society -- again. She's strikingly beautiful and going to be very rich, but Leo has a problem money can't solve. A curious speech disorder causes her to stutter but also allows her to imitate other people's voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her "Mad Miss Mimic" behind her back...and watch as Leo unintentionally scares off one potential husband after another. London in 1872 is also a city gripped by opium fever. Leo's brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst and his new business partner Francis Thornfax are frontrunners in the race to patent an injectable formula of the drug. Friendly, forthright, and as a bonus devastatingly handsome, Thornfax seems immune to the gossip about Leo's "madness." But their courtship is endangered from the start. The mysterious Black Glove opium gang is setting off explosions across the city. The street urchins Dr. Dewhurst treats are dying of overdose. And then there is Tom Rampling, the working-class boy Leo can't seem to get off her mind.
As the violence closes in around her Leo must find the links between the Black Glove's attacks, Tom's criminal past, the doctor's dangerous cure, and Thornfax's political ambitions. But first she must find her voice.
Mad Miss Mimic sounds awfully similar to another historical romance I devoured and adored last year, A Mad Wicked Folly, and I was actually hoping for this one's outcome to be quite similar, too! In the end, I saw it as a definite historical book that dealt with politics in Victorian England, finding your love interest and finding yourself, especially from Leo's perspective, who stuttered when she spoke.
Cheers to Canadian authors! As Canada Day is tomorrow, I feel like this was a perfect debut to celebrate our authors, who are always there to standby their literature through our country's name. Mad Miss Mimic is a debut novel that I only had just discovered, and I'm very proud to say that I've enjoyed yet another historical novel, as that's usually the genre that I find it difficult to enjoy... or even find a good book out of the bunch that stands before me. I don't have much to say but positive things, so let's actually get started!
"How had he come to Hastings? And where did he go at the end of each day when his work at surgery was done? Tom was right: I knew nothing. And I found that, yes, I was curious—very curious indeed."
What I mentioned above is basically what this novel holds. It has a great premise that must've taken so much time to organize and make perfect. Henstra even noted in her Author's Note that she went to numerous libraries around Toronto to learn more about stuttering and all of the facts which came into Leo's character. The fact that many people in her life made fun of her for the way she spoke was awful, and this is a big part of the book that many people don't even realize. She's just an ordinary girl who's rich and has a disability which doesn't even affect her at all, basically. What is there to say? She's such an intelligent young woman who proved readers and her people wrong of her capability. Confident characters who have power and are able to do extraordinary things are actually the rulers.
The beginning scenes especially are what captivated me: Leo's sister did make some kind of sisterly relationship minimize and go to a minimum. Usually—usually, YA literature is filled with relationships that help readers relate, and are barely formed out of jealousy and hunger for power as well as bloodlust, but what Leo had with her servants or her sister is just plain sad. I can't even admit that I'm able to empathize at all, since times back then are all about wealth and what we have over everyone. These scenes, especially where Leo met her love interest (I won't spoil the name, I promise!) are what developed the whole story wonderfully.
|I love the font!|
|She never gave up.|
Romance and just about all of the awesome stuff that we try to discover in YA historical fiction is all packed in this book. Whether you're looking for romance, mystery or great characters, it has it all and I'm so excited to see Henstra's other work, because everyone wants it in their lives. Brace yourself, this is a fast paced read that's super rad, and will only take you a matter of time to go through. By the way, it's nothing like a pure Victorian magical read either, it's just its own concept and premise packed for readers in an enjoyable matter. Enjoy, my friends, you won't let this one go!