Mad Miss Mimic is the story of Leonora (Leo for short), a young woman living in 1870s London. Leo is somewhat of an oddity in society. She has a terrible stutter, and the only times she can speak clearly are when she mimics other people’s voices, earning her the nickname of Mad Miss Mimic. Leo’s sister, Christabel, is eager to marry her off, and has chosen her husband’s business partner, Mr. Thornfax, for her to marry. Along with this plot, there are also several subplots worth noting: the desire for an opium ban in London (just as doctors are racing to find an injectable formula), Leo’s desire to find who she really is as a person, and the Black Glove, a terrorist organization that keeps blowing up notable London sites.
With all of that in the plot, I expected to like this story more than I did. However, I didn’t dislike it. The mystery aspect was an interesting addition to the story, though I will admit I’d pretty much figured it out way before Leo did, which leads me to my main point of consternation with the story. Leo is a likable character, but she doesn’t come across as exceptionally intelligent. If I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, I believe she’s just very sheltered, which was hard for me as a reader to contend with. I was putting pieces of things together left and right, while she was still puzzling over many of them. However, she’s not entirely annoying. She has typical thoughts of any young society girl of the time looking to wed, and the author does a good job of showing her anxieties. She’s also independent and strong, as seen by her willingness to try and figure out what’s happening to the poor of London, and her willingness to go out exploring on her own without a chaperone (GASP!). There were just a few parts where I wanted her to be a little quicker on the uptake.
I loved the aesthetic of this story. It has that Victorian gothic feel, and there are many interesting characters who aren’t quite the norm. Leo and Christabel’s aunt was one of my absolute favorite parts of the story. She’s a widow who does what she wants when she wants and everyone else be damned and I loved that about her. I wish she would’ve been around more. There’s also their journalist cousin, Archibald, who is covering the explosions caused by the Black Glove, and isn’t altogether the norm for society either. I also loved the love story here. It was sappy and cute and I still loved it.
The story also kept me engaged. I did figure out the mystery fairly early on, but I had to keep reading to make sure I was right. There were also a few things I couldn’t quite puzzle out, like why certain characters wanted certain things (trying not to spoil). Overall, this was a fun read. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the description, but I still enjoyed it, read it quickly, and wish I could read more about the characters. I recommend it if you’re a fan of recent Victorian style novels, like Jane Steele (though this isn’t quite as violent). Also, if you like historical fiction, this is a good one, especially considering that I don’t usually read historical fiction and genuinely enjoyed it.
Note: I received this book from Netgalley & the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Have you read Mad Miss Mimic? Will you? What other similar novels would you recommend? Let me know below!