by Brittany Cavallaro
To be published on February 14, 2017
by Katherine Tegen Books
Synopsis from Goodreads: Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers. So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
My take: Let's just cut to the chase: I didn't like this book nearly as much as A Study in Charlotte, the first book in the series. Things started off promising in Last of August, with Holmes and Watson holed up in her musty old summer house, but after the first few chapters, I realized that I really missed that book's boarding school setting, and I liked it better when Watson and Holmes were just getting to know one another.
There was not a lot of recap of the first book to re-orient me in this one, and I struggled to remember everything that had happened. I also desperately needed Holmes and Moriarty family trees for reference. This book was filled with Holmes and Morarity siblings and cousins and uncles and I kept forgetting who was who and who was allied with whom. That could be a function of my currently scattered mental state, and be easier for someone with greater concentration, but there were a lot of related people with a lot of crisscrossing agendas, and I got confused.
My other complaint was the newly evolved relationship between Charlotte and Jamie. Their relationship felt like the one in a typical book two of an Angsty YA Paranormal Trilogy where the love interest pushes the main character away for her (though this time his!) own good. Yay for gender equality - why shouldn't women be the pushers-away? -- but the pushing-away plot is super-tedious. Plus, Charlotte was (of course) also withholding information from Jamie, so he seemed to spend most of the book moping around feeling uncertain and unnecessary. About two-thirds of the way into the story, Charlotte narrated a couple chapters (while Jamie was knocked unconscious) and that was like a breath of fresh air. Sorry that poor Jamie had to be knocked out for my enjoyment, but I enjoyed that part of the book more.
I did really like the art forgery aspect of the story, and wished that more of that had been included in the plot. But most of the action seemed centered around the various factions and their sneaking around Europe trying to double- and triple-cross each other.
According to my Goodreads feed, opinions are mixed on this one - if you've read it or plan to, let me know in comments!