Sarah Henstra Mad Miss Mimic

ISBN 13: 9780143192367

Mad Miss Mimic

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9780143192367: Mad Miss Mimic
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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.

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About the Author:

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.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 9 Up—In 1872 England, beautiful and wealthy 17-year-old Leonora Somerville is dutifully seeking a suitable husband under her older sister's critical eye. Leonora's speech is flawed by a stutter and sudden, startling, fluent outbursts of another's voice. Her peculiar disorder frightens others but intrigues handsome Francis Thornfax, the business partner of Leonora's brother-in-law, Dr. Dewhurst. Despite Leonora's attraction to Thornfax, she has questions about his secretive opium import business, the experimental "charity" treatments given to the poor by Dr. Dewhurst, and the fatal explosions in London credited to the pro-opium terrorist Black Glove. Gradually, Leonora learns the truth from enigmatic Tom Rampling, an apprentice to Dr. Dewhurst, who has feelings for her. Leonora's often self-imposed silence makes her an astute observer and narrator. Her strange mimicry outbursts erupt when she is stressed and metaphorically can't find her own voice. However, late in the narrative, her mimicry disorder vanishes with surprisingly little acknowledgement or resolution. Though the romantic elements are predictable, readers will appreciate the spunky heroine, the Dickensian cast of characters, the interesting historic references to 19th-century opium use, and the action-filled plot. VERDICT Romance fans will enjoy Leonora's high-society lifestyle, her conflicted attraction to rich Thornfax and poor Tom, and her willingness to take risks to uncover the truth. A fine additional purchase for romantic historical fiction shelves in medium to large collections.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC

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