The premise: what if Holmes and Watson were more than friends? what if they were (gasp!) illicit gay lovers? Such a shocking premise, will say absolutely no one, knowing very well about the hundreds of thousands of Holmes fanfictions that have been written since way before the internet was even a thing. So yeah, this book is published fanfiction. Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against fanfiction… as long as it’s good.
Urgh. This book. Quite possibly one of the worst books I ever managed to finish. It took me two months to get through all the purple prose and dead horse romance tropes and predictable plot twists, and in the end I think it was just bile fascination.
This book doesn’t just fail at being a believable romance, or a believable mystery, or a believed Sherlock Holmes story. It just… fails. Falls flat on his face after a couple of pages and doesn’t manage to get up. Ever.
Holmes and Watson are two lovesick puppies who’d rather spend the day cuddling and promising undying love to each other rather than catch a criminal. They bumble through the case, with Holmes failing every important deduction ever, but luckily the solution to the mystery falls in their laps. But it doesn’t matter because Holmes managed to impress the ladies at dinner with his deductions about cellos and gardening, so he’s a proper detective, see? And anyway there’s no need for any genius sleuth when the culprit is so obvious, they might as well have a sign that says “Hate Me, I’m Evil!” on their back. Everyone talks as if they were in the 21st century (save for one kid plagued by phonetic spelling) and they go around doing all kind of things that would have a Victorian lady in a faint, calling strangers by their first names and forgetting to wear gloves at dinner.
The thing that left me most baffled was that several reviews and blurbs state that the authors have a great knowledge of the characters and the historical period. Let me ask: where and when and how was that apparent? It takes more than offhand mentions of a country manor and horses and “English house parties” to make a historical novel. Just take the dinner scene. The characters address each other in the wrong way, address the servants in the wrong way, talk about all the wrong subjects, act inappropriately, and are improperly dressed.
Unless you’re looking for bad fiction, don’t read this book. It’s not even hilariously bad fiction, just terribly written.