Saturday, July 07, 2012
My Particular Friend: 5-star review and giveaway!
Posted by JaneGS
My Particular Friend, by fellow Coloradoan author, Jennifer Petkus, is a glorious reworking of Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. John Watson. Reincarnated into Regency England as Charlotte Holmes and Jane Woodsen, My Particular Friend recounts the adventures of the pair as they solve mysteries matrimonial rather than murderous.
The book was enormously fun to read on several levels. First, the stories themselves are interesting as are the characters of Charlotte and Jane, as well as the servants, friends, and clients who surround them. I loved seeing characteristics from the originals shine forth in their Regency-lady-versions--Charlotte is every bit as clever, self-assured, and focused as Sherlock, and Jane is a tireless sidekick, taking notes, offering theories, and serving as a sounding board, foil, and companion. I also liked the fact that Petkus threw in a bit of romance for Jane in the form of the dashing Dr. Wallace (be still my beating heart!).
It's also great fun to catch the author's many references and allusions to her favorite authors, including Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, and Shakespeare. The book is scattered with # symbols, and you can visit its website to read the footnotes associated with each # sign. The footnotes include tidbits explaining Regency dress, customs, and other details of life as well as literary allusions. I didn't read an ebook version of the book, but I imagine the # signs are hotlinks to the footnotes, which is very cool.
I recently reread The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, which contains some of my favorite stories, and I had to smile to see the Conan Doyle story The Naval Treaty reworked by Petkus into The Affair of Brotherly Love. Petkus did a marvelous job translating it to her own fictional world and reimagining the challenge of removing a valuable document from an impregnable stronghold. It is a story worthy of the original--clever, full of blind alleys, and immensely satisfying to read.
That said, I have to admit that my personal favorite story was The Affair of the Reluctant Bachelor, in which a Bertie Wooster character, recast as Bertie Worcester, finds himself engaged to two women at the same time. Charlotte and Jane must help Bertie as his faithful valet, Cheevers (Jeeves, in the P.G. Wodehouse stories that inspired this one) is not on hand to tell him what to do. I laughed through the whole story--loved Petkus's Bertie as much as I've loved Wodehouse's Bertie, and felt the whole was light, bright, and sparkling.
I'm hoping that Petkus is working on volume two as I'm not nearly tired of reading Charlotte House stories and just hope she never feels compelled to send her creation to Reichenbach Falls. My Particular Friend is charming, literary, and witty--basically, everything I look for in a particular friend, and it turned out to be a particularly good read!
A paperback version is available for U.S. residents, and a Kindle version is available for non-U.S. residents.
To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below and include your email address so that I can reach you should you be one of two happy winners. The contest ends on Saturday, July 14 at 8 pm MDT.