Mad Miss Mimic

Mad Miss Mimic

Book - 2015
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It's London, 1872, where 17-year-old heiress Leonora Somerville is preparing to be presented to upper upper-class 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 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.
Publisher: Toronto : Razorbill, c2015
ISBN: 9780143192367
Branch Call Number: YA MYSTERY HEN
Characteristics: 259 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.

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Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra is a YA novel set in 19th century London incorporating themes of political intrigue, romance, and mystery. The story centers on a seventeen-year-old girl named Leonora Somerville who was born with a speech impediment. Though she speaks with a stutter normally, she can imitate the voices of others perfectly without stuttering. This mimicry occurs randomly in outbursts that Leo is unable to control. As a result, Leo lacks self-esteem and prefers to remain silent. Leo’s sister, Christa, introduces her to a man named Mr. Thornfax who seems unbothered by her condition. She takes interest in him, but suspects he is involved in bombings that have occurred around the city. At the same time, she is becomes involved with a peasant thief named Tom. As she struggles with her speech impediment and romantic life, she must also deal with a mystery plaguing the entire city. A memorable point of Mad Miss Mimic was how it balanced the many interplaying themes, and in this way, it can appeal to fans of different genres. Henstra’s descriptions of scenes also tended to be very vivid and evocative of the story’s time. Parts of the narrative felt slow and predictable, but the plot was overall fairly captivating. I would recommend Mad Miss Mimic to anyone looking for a unique blend of historical fiction, mystery, and romance, so long as they don’t mind a cliched story. - Dana

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