Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah HenstraMad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

Mad Miss Mimic

bySarah Henstra

Paperback | May 5, 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.
Sarah Henstra is a professor of English at Ryerson University, where she teaches courses in Gothic Literature, Fairy Tales & Fantasy, and Women in Fiction. Some of her best story ideas come from class discussions. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two sons, and a poodle named Nora. Mad Miss Mimic is her first novel.
Title:Mad Miss MimicFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:272 pages, 8.4 × 5.44 × 0.68 inShipping dimensions:8.4 × 5.44 × 0.68 inPublished:May 5, 2015Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143192361

ISBN - 13:9780143192367


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story! I loved this Victorian novel! As the description says, it has aspects of both Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes novels. Leo is an interesting character. She’s very secluded because of her stutter, but she is still expected to follow the path of a Victorian lady by marrying into money. Because of her stutter, she has faced many hardships. A unique aspect of her stutter is that she can mimic voices perfectly. But that has led her into more trouble than anything. When she mimicked the voice of her sister’s suitor, her words ended her sister’s engagement and also ruined her relationship with her only sibling. Most of the characters were unlikeable, which is hard for the writer to do and still create a great story. Right from the beginning I didn’t like Christabel, her husband, or Mr. Thornfax. I didn’t like the way they patronized Leo, solely because of her stutter. But I liked Leo and I rooted for her through the whole book. She was intelligent, and took risks to solve the mystery of the Black Glove. I’m definitely going to follow this author, because this was a great debut novel!
Date published: 2018-05-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable It took me a while to get into the book but it was worth it in the end.
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sherlock Holmes meets Jane Austen, loved it! Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra can be described as Sherlock Holmes meets Jane Austen. This takes place in London, England 1872 and is a slightly, alternate version of London, but remains mostly true to the time and place. Seventeen year old Leonora Somerville should have no issues finding a husband – she’s beautiful and soon-to-be very rich. There’s just one issue: her speech disorder which causes her to stutter and mimic other people’s voices. Behind her back she’s called Mad Miss Mimic and her sister is determined to get her married before Miss Mimic has all of Leo’s potential suitors running off. I loved Leo! She’s a funny character who is both determined to make her sister happy (conforming to society) and listening to her Aunt Emma by doing what makes Leo happy. I definitely enjoyed reading this sort of conflict. The slightly alternative reality comes in as Black Glove, a terrorist group using street urchins to set off explosives around the city – their goal, have the ban lifted off of opium. Then there’s the charming Francis Thornfax, a potential husband for Leo and the ruggedly, handsome Tom Rampling, a working-class boy under Leo’s brother-in-law. When it seems like Tom is connected to Black Glove, Leo decides to do her own detective work and figure out the truth. This is one fantastic thriller you don’t want to miss out on!
Date published: 2017-02-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well worth it !! This was a really good book for sure with a proper storyline. Some parts i felt could have been done better and it did seem a bit repetitive at some points or dragged on but definitely an original story and love the victorian era
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Stays True to Both YA and Gothic Horror I was worried I wouldn't be able to provide a proper review for this book because I had Henstra as a professor in university for a Gothic horror class; I didn't want to be too critical or too easy on her but it looks like I didn't need to worry since she clearly knows her stuff and was able to communicate it well in her novel. One thing I had a problem with was hearing her voice narrate the story which isn't exactly ideal since this is YA but I think around the middle I started to lose that and "hear" Leo's voice instead. Some of the narration felt a bit awkward, like it tried to get across high class and the Victorian feel through sentence structure and word choice, but it was only a few times here and there and I must admit my lack of knowledge of how people spoke back in the 1800s (I only mention it because it felt awkward to me). I feel guilty for describing books in the past as enjoyable because I've rediscovered with this novel what enjoyment in reading really is. I was really into this novel and struggled with trying to read it all at once or leaving some for another day just so that the experience could last longer. Again, Henstra really knows her stuff about both YA and Gothic horror and it's communicated well. The way the story is weaved is also well done. The main plot and the subplots are interconnected so well and it mimics real life perfectly. There were a few chapters here and there that didn't end well - they were too abrupt for my liking - but the story did have a nice flow and the build up to the action scene near the end was perfect. Much of the plot was predictable, but not in the annoying way; if you're familiar with both genres, certain things should be expected and the author delivered. I felt Christa's final spat with Leo might've been a bit too exaggerated to be believed (especially since up until that point she was at least somewhat helpful in regards to finding a suitor) but at least it had a reason behind it and it was something mentioned before, not something that was hidden from us before that point. Henstra also does a good job of making the characters distinct (those dialects!) and the maturity of the young adults was captured well, too. I believed that they were all the ages they were supposed to be and their reactions and thoughts fit them so well. Mimic was interesting. It was amusing to see when she'd pop out and who she'd imitate. As convenient as her outbursts were, I didn't feel like it wasn't believable. Everything was explained properly beforehand by Leo so that when it came time to push the plot along with Mimic it wasn't just for convenience - it was part of who Leo was. I was worried about the fate of the stutter towards the end, though. I'm sure some people would be upset about how it turned out since it would devalue her struggle with the stutter, make the stutter useful only for the plot, and cheapen the story of the flawed heroine who loses that disability rather "easily" instead of living with it like so many other people do in real life. If the story were about her stutter, which it wasn't really, then it would make sense for her to either overcome it or [ideally] come to terms with it. Because the story merely featured the stutter and Mimic, it isn't too far-fetched an idea to have her gain control of both of them however I would've preferred it if she kept it since it wasn't an obstacle with Tom or her new independent life (although maybe it would've been with her stage life which in itself came out of nowhere for me). I'll liken this to Toph from Avatar: the Last Airbender series. She was blind and it was part of who she was yet it didn't get in her way of becoming a great earth bender. When the series ended, she was still left without her sight and no one felt cheated because of it since to take that away would be to take away who she is and I feel like with Mad Miss Mimic the ending took away a part of Leo even if she did gain control of Mimic. Another thing I noticed in regards to losing the stutter was also when it was mentioned that she hadn't stuttered at all in that conversation with Archie yet she did at least once in it so I wonder if that was intentional, as in she was still working out the kinks, or an oversight. Either way, how she took control of Mimic to "mimic" her own voice was still fascinating and I liked how it worked out even if I still feel a bit let down by the miracle. I'm curious to know why the author chose to have it happen that way but in the end I was still satisfied with how the novel ended. The dynamics between the characters was wonderfully done, though. In fact, my favourite scene would have to be when Thornfax was abusing Tom because it showed all their characters really well and the writing in it was well done. The scenes following it were great reaction scenes and it helped build all the characters up to where they needed to be and it made everything else prior to that fall into place. I wasn't surprised by Thornfax's dishonesty towards Leo but it wasn't a glaringly obvious fault in the writing, and this is how many of the plot points were, so everything, from the characters to the plot, was so well done that I didn't mind the typical flow of things (even the love triangle wasn't an annoyance). For anyone who likes YA, I don't think the Gothic aspect would deter them at all. To those who enjoy Gothic horror, having it mixed with YA actually fits pretty well and if you can put aside the flaws of the genre then it can be quite enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of either genre because Henstra's background and knowledge is well used here and it's worth seeing how she uses what she knows to craft a well written novel. I really did enjoy myself while reading this and I'm glad I didn't let my prior student relationship with her, whether I would've been too critical or too praising, get in the way of appreciating this great novel.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely stellar I bought this book a while back, spurred on by my fascination with Victorian London and due to the fact that I am writing a story of my own that takes place within the same era, and my goodness, I must say that I am more than amazed with the story. Henstra somehow manages to make her writing seem as though she is transcribing the words of a Victorian woman. As a person who devours Victorian literature for fun, I can sufficiently and confidently tell you that if you are searching for a classic-style book with a modern flair, this is precisely what you are looking for. And, well, if you aren't searching for that, read it anyway because it is well worth your time, and the ending had me screaming with bittersweet joy.
Date published: 2016-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So much love Honestly, you'll fall inlove with Tom. Just do it for Tom.
Date published: 2015-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Mad Miss Mimic is a really fun, engaging story which blends a few different elements together to create its own unique feel. It's a little bit of historical fiction, with a thrilling mystery, and a heroine who stands out because of her speech disorder. This is a great book for readers who like thoughtful stories and remarkable heroines! Also this book cover? So pretty and one of my favourites! It suits the book really well. Reasons to Read: 1. Leonora's brave and fascinating character: Leo stands out among other book characters for a few different reasons. The most obvious is her speech disorder; this isn't addressed in very many books, but I love that Sarah Henstra included this in Mad Miss Mimic and made it an integral part of the story. You can see how Leo struggles with it, yet she refuses to allow it to become her entire life and learns how to work with her mimicry. The development of her character is remarkable given the shorter length of the book, and it's inspiring to see how she doesn't let anyone else define her or box her in. 2. Leo's speech disorder: Leo's speech disorder is a fairly obvious trait of hers. It's hard to ignore and no one fails to notice it unless she simply doesn't speak. Which brings up another interesting part of the story - she's regularly encouraged by some characters to sit and look pretty, which wasn't at all an uncommon attitude in Victorian times but it's so poignant with Leo. Importantly, there are other characters who don't see or treat her as lesser because of it (some are better than others, however). And I think it is realistic to see the varying reactions of other characters to Leo's manner of speaking, yet all the while it is balanced by Leo's own feelings towards it. 3. The cast of secondary characters: I like characters who aren't reduced to being two-dimensional and Sarah wrote her other characters in Mad Miss Mimic really well. No one is truly good nor evil, and you can see that there is a sense of a gray area when it comes to their actions and decisions. There are many people who mean well, but fall short, or who are simply looking out for their own interests, yet at the expense of others. I appreciate this complexity in books and their characters, and it really impressed me to find it here. The biggest issue for me is that this is a well-developed plot and one that is very complex with so many details to be uncovered, yet the book itself is on the shorter side. There were some parts of the story which I felt could have been fleshed out more had the book been longer. On the other hand, this book moves at a slower pace compared to others so that may be a good thing to keep readers more accustomed to action-packed books engaged with the storyline here. ARC received from Penguin Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2015-09-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lovely YA Historical Debut From the gritty streets of Seven Dials to the elegant mansions lining Mayfair Street, Sarah Henstra's rich attention to detail in her debut novel Mad Miss Mimic enchantingly brings the Victorian setting to life right off the pages. If you're a fan of reading YA historical fiction with a touch of romance and suspense, then Mad Miss Mimic may just be the perfect book to read next! Seventeen-year-old heiress Leonora Somerville is a stunning beauty who will soon inherit a fortune, but instead of being the catch of the Season, her speech disorder has scared off her potential suitors. Ever since Leo was a little girl, she has stuttered when she speaks, yet even more curiously, she can flawlessly imitate any voice she overhears, something which both fascinates and perturbs everyone she meets. Leo's older sister Christabel insists she keep her mouth shut in front of society, insensitive to the humiliation Leo feels when her Mimic unintentionally attracts the wrong kind of attention. Behind her back, Leo is often called "Mad Miss Mimic" by their servants and Christabel's upper-class friends. Leo may live a sheltered life with her sister's family at Hastings House, but it's akin to living in a gilded cage. She may not object to dressing in the latest fashion or Christabel's mission to find her a suitable husband befitting her station, but more importantly, Leo seeks freedom from society's constant judgement. She can't help feeling that everyone is just waiting for the moment she truly slips into madness. And then affable, charming Francis Thornfax appears in Leo's life and begins to court her. He's handsome, the son of a lord, and even better, he doesn't seem to care at all about Leo's speech affliction. As her brother-in-law's new business partner, Mr. Thornfax is always well-received at Hastings House. But then there's also Tom Rampling, a working class boy with a criminal past who pervades Leo's thoughts. All the while, a mysterious opium gang called the Black Glove is terrorizing London as the debate to ban opium heats up in Parliament... While I realized quite early in the novel which characters had good intentions versus who had nefarious plans, losing the element of surprise didn't necessarily lessen my enjoyment of reading Mad Miss Mimic. Leo may struggle to voice her thoughts, but she has a very lovely imagination, describing her surroundings with an often whimsical or reminiscent style of narration that absolutely made up for the easiness of solving the overarching mystery. I am definitely hoping Sarah Henstra is already busily writing a new YA novel!
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book ever First off, one of the best books I read this year. Mad Miss Mimic is amazing. It is amazingly researched, the author really painted a vivid story with really great imagery. IWhen I first heard about this story, it struck me as different then the majority of the teen books out there and that’s why I wanted to read it. I really liked Leo’s journey. I think everyone should read this and they will enjoy it! Spoilers below: Leo, by the end of the book she has finally gotten control of her mimicry and stuttering. The book had such a twist in it, the entire book I thought Tom was so evil, that he was the mastermind behind everything but he was really good and trying to save everyone. That was a twist that I didn’t see coming. At the start of the book Leo has no control of her voice, by the end of her book she has mastered the art of mimicry and uses it to her advantage and no longer stutters. The boat naming of Heroine was also really smart (as they are manufacturing a drug like it). The entire plot of the story is amazing and the characters seem so real and I just loved this book. I thought the Lord that was courting Leo was actually good until it was revealed he wasn’t, that was a twist I didn’t see at all! I just thought he was courting her because of her brother-in law and it would be easier to do business if they were a family, it made sense. Then when I found out he just wanted to marry her because she was seen as crazy (Mad Miss Mimic) and she would either keep quiet in public or when she spoke everyone would assume she had gone mad. I just think this book is amazing and so different and just the best for being different.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book I had access to an ARC and would highly recommend this book. I’ll admit I may be a bit biased in favour of this author.
Date published: 2015-05-05

Editorial Reviews

"A complex plot that reads like a combination of Austen and Conan Doyle." - Quill and Quire

"This is the perfect beach read for that teen who got an A in History (and would rather stay inside watching Downton Abbey than go to the beach in the first place)." - The Globe and Mail