Book Review: The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss



Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club…especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucinda van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes!

As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.



The Athena Club is back and we’re back in England for this last volume of their adventures. In this book the story picks up where the previous one left off–trying to find their maid, Alice, and Sherlock Holmes, who have been kidnapped.

I enjoyed the plot in this one quite a bit. We follow different groups of characters as they travel around England, putting in a lot of footwork during their investigations. They revisit some old acquaintances and make new ones as well. Some I won’t give away, but there appear to be a lot of literary figures wandering around Victorian England. I thought the way the various story lines converged was nice and this is very much an adventure story. There is travel, and excitement, worry of danger and characters having to think fast on their feet. I thought the villains were properly villainous and there’s a little bit of gray area when it comes to some of them, such as Alice’s mother. I liked how penny dreadfuls were brought up–as always there is a great bit of fun the author is having with the meta-commentary from Catherine as she’s writing the book, and also from within the text itself hanging lampshades.

As for the characters, they’re fun as always. We have Lucinda living with the rest of the group now, adjusting to her life as a vampire while trying not to feel bad about putting anyone out due to her special circumstances. I love how supportive the women are of each other! They assure Lucinda her condition is no big deal, after all Beatrice has a special diet as well–accommodations aren’t a big deal and they shouldn’t be–no one should be made to feel bad if they have certain needs! But that’s not to say that the women all just agree on everything. They’re each very distinct characters with their own wants and opinions–for instance there is some brief discussion of The Empire and Mary has a bit of a privileged perspective on things compared to some of the others regarding England and its colonial holdings. (I love how these things are touched on, briefly, in the course of normal conversation.)

I continue to love Mary and Diana’s sibling relationship and watching it grow. I also loved that many of the characters in this one, especially Justine and Beatrice, are trying to figure out their futures, and what they want out of life. If there is one small criticism, I would say that there isn’t a ton of character growth, or that the growth is small for most characters so perhaps easily overlooked. But this is pretty understandable as it’s a large cast and that would be a lot to balance. I do like Mary’s growth, the most significant leap forward which is happening throughout and then near the end, which was aided by the other members of the group through their support and encouragement. Most of all I just love that these books are about a group of women, all different types of women, who are like ‘we’re in this together’. I also enjoy that we got to know Alice a lot more in this book and I’m always happy to see the Athena Club expand.

Overall, I thought this was a good finale to the series and I feel comfortable and satisfied with where the characters are when the story wraps up. Maybe a little bit of the delightful surprise I’d felt has worn off from where I was when reading the first two books, but it’s still a solid adventure with lots of fun shenanigans. 4/5 stars.

18 thoughts on “Book Review: The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

  1. Tammy says:

    I loved the first book so much, and then I had trouble getting into the second one and sort of gave up (it was so long!). Glad you ended up enjoying this. I may have to go back at some point and try again.

  2. nen & jen says:

    First off: this cover is gorgeous! Secondly, it sounds so adventurous and fast-paced. How have I not heard of this series before??? I’m going to check it out. Awesome review (is it Lisa? I saw the name on twitter and wasn’t quite sure haha).

    • waytoofantasy says:

      The covers for all of these are gorgeous! It’s such a fun series. At first I was hesitant to pick it up because I can be weird about books featuring characters from other books but it all works and there’s some meta stuff going on too.
      Yes, Lisa. 😀 Thanks!

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