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A Monstrous Regiment of Women

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A Monstrous Regiment of Women continues Mary Russell's adventures as a worthy student of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and as an ever more skilled sleuth in her own right. Looking for respite in London after a stupefying visit from relatives, Mary encounters a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to her current enthusiasm, a strange and enigmatic woma A Monstrous Regiment of Women continues Mary Russell's adventures as a worthy student of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and as an ever more skilled sleuth in her own right. Looking for respite in London after a stupefying visit from relatives, Mary encounters a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to her current enthusiasm, a strange and enigmatic woman named Margery Childe, who leads something called "The New Temple of God." It seems to be a charismatic sect involved in the post-World War I suffrage movement, with a feminist slant on Christianity. Mary is curious about the woman, and intrigued. Is the New Temple a front for something more sinister? When a series of murders claims members of the movement's wealthy young female volunteers and principal contributors, Mary, with Holmes in the background, begins to investigate. Things become more desperate than either of them expected as Mary's search plunges her into the worst danger she has yet faced.


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A Monstrous Regiment of Women continues Mary Russell's adventures as a worthy student of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and as an ever more skilled sleuth in her own right. Looking for respite in London after a stupefying visit from relatives, Mary encounters a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to her current enthusiasm, a strange and enigmatic woma A Monstrous Regiment of Women continues Mary Russell's adventures as a worthy student of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and as an ever more skilled sleuth in her own right. Looking for respite in London after a stupefying visit from relatives, Mary encounters a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to her current enthusiasm, a strange and enigmatic woman named Margery Childe, who leads something called "The New Temple of God." It seems to be a charismatic sect involved in the post-World War I suffrage movement, with a feminist slant on Christianity. Mary is curious about the woman, and intrigued. Is the New Temple a front for something more sinister? When a series of murders claims members of the movement's wealthy young female volunteers and principal contributors, Mary, with Holmes in the background, begins to investigate. Things become more desperate than either of them expected as Mary's search plunges her into the worst danger she has yet faced.

30 review for A Monstrous Regiment of Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    MasterGamgee

    I'm torn about this book. Some of it I really liked, some I didn't like at all. If I were reading this instead of listening to audio, I don't think I would have gotten past the first half of the book. I didn't care for the character Veronica. I didn't care for the character Margery, big time . I didn't care for the Temple and all the people associated with it. Too much religion, too little Holmes. And Holmes confessing to Mary at the end of the book that he's wanted to kiss Mary since he first I'm torn about this book. Some of it I really liked, some I didn't like at all. If I were reading this instead of listening to audio, I don't think I would have gotten past the first half of the book. I didn't care for the character Veronica. I didn't care for the character Margery, big time . I didn't care for the Temple and all the people associated with it. Too much religion, too little Holmes. And Holmes confessing to Mary at the end of the book that he's wanted to kiss Mary since he first met her. She was fifteen . That creeped me out. What I did like was most the second half of the book (minus the Holmes comment). I felt like I was locked in the cellar with Mary, and then onto the race to find the person who did it, all the while battling inner demons. Well, that one sentence describing what I did like didn't adequately describe how much I enjoyed the later part, but I did. Since I didn't care for the story initially, I can only give it an OK rating. I will, however, pick up the next in the series. I just hope there isn't a regiment of women in it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tim The Enchanter

    Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca A Thinker's Mystery - 4.5 Stars I was not disappointed with the second novel in this (so far) intelligent series by Laurie R. King. In this novel, the author does an absolutely superb job of using the mystery to move the issues that the book contemplates. I would not go so far as to say that this is "message fiction" but the author certainly uses this to deal with issues that, while historical, nevertheless persist. Plot summary Our feisty protagonist, Mary R Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca A Thinker's Mystery - 4.5 Stars I was not disappointed with the second novel in this (so far) intelligent series by Laurie R. King. In this novel, the author does an absolutely superb job of using the mystery to move the issues that the book contemplates. I would not go so far as to say that this is "message fiction" but the author certainly uses this to deal with issues that, while historical, nevertheless persist. Plot summary Our feisty protagonist, Mary Russell, is on the verge of moving into legal adulthood and obtaining access to the fortune of her deceased parents and at the same time, is nearing the end of her Oxford studies. While visiting a friend, Mary comes to meet Margery Childe, the charismatic leader of a local Christian Temple and suffragette and feminist. Mary is intrigued by Margery's charisma and, as a Jewish scholar herself, Mary is interested in Margery's interpretation of the Old Testament. Her interest quickly turns to suspicion as four of the women who attend at the temple are found dead under mysterious circumstances. Is Margery a mystic with a true connection to God or is she a charlatan using the rich women of the city to accomplish her personal goals. My Take This book dealt with a topic that I find to be of particular interest. While there is mystery to be unraveled, it at times serves as a subtext to the exploration of feminism and religion. Mary Russell is herself a woman and scholar of Judaism and she finds a companion in Margery Childe, an untrained and self taught scholar. The author uses the text of scripture to show how women and men should be treated equally within Christianity. She also refers to some interpretation that is intriguing. I do not know if the author created this as a device for the book or it is based on real, scholarly research. I am quite interested to find out. On a personal note, as a Christian and father of two daughters, I am interested and invested in how religion treats women. I have always believed in the equal treatment of men and women and within religious circles and outside of them. I have often been called, usually with derision, a feminist. Insofar as a feminist is any person that believes and stands for equal treatment of sexes, I can be identified as such. This attitude has always puzzled me. It just so happens I attend a church that was founded by and is run by a woman. It seems to me that this would not have been possible or accepted but for, at least in part, the efforts of feminists through the ages. This book in my opinion make a convincing argument on how a some forms of feminism benefited the church and as a result, society. Anyone who reads this review and can recommend some books that deal with the convergence of feminism and religion, please do so! I think that some readers of the first book will find this one to be a disappointment. The story is essentially about Mary Russell and features Sherlock Holmes very little. The story was really meant to allow Mary to come into her own. I was not at all disappointed with the story focus but I can appreciate how some may dislike it. In the end, I could not give this 5 stars. The author has taken the overall plot in a direction that I think is rather absurd. It is a mild spoiler so I will mark it as such. (view spoiler)[ In the end, Sherlock and Mary decided to get married. Mary is no longer a minor but barely so and Sherlock is somewhere around 60. While I appreciate that Mary is a female foil of Sherlock, this arrangement stretches the bounds of believability. As I see it, he could have been a friend and father figure to the orphaned Mary but instead she chooses to marry the father figure. Kinda creepy... (hide spoiler)] If you choose to read the spoiler, it won't reveal anything about the mystery or the plot but will clue you in to the future story elements. I leave it to you. Can this Book Stand Alone Yes BUT I would recommend reading number 1 first. It does an excellent job of creating and developing the characters that I think would be doing yourself a disservice by skipping it. Final Thoughts Another impressive offering from this author. In my opinion, the social commentary is interesting and while, the novel's setting is historical, the issues ring true today. This is not for the reader who loves a breezy mystery or a faced paced read. The pacing is deliberate, there is substantial character development and there are issues to make the reader ponder. If this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend this series. Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations. When reviewing language, mild obscenities are words like, shit, hell or damn. Religious exclamations are words such as Christ or Jesus when used as profanity. Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest Sex - 1.5 Kissing. That would be about it. There is some whispered discussion about some sexual dalliances but overall the content is quite chaste. Language - 2 The language remains mild. Most of the characters are religious and frown on such things a swearing. Violence - 2.5 There are several murders but they not are described graphically. Several women are beaten and some rather seriously. Another is threatened with violence. The violence tends not be disturbing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    The continuation of The Beekeeper's Apprentice; Mary Russell meets through her friend Veronica Beaconsfield, Margaret Childe who leads “The New Temple of God”, a charismatic sect for women. But, could New Temple be a cover for something sinister? Several women have died and left the money to the Temple. With the help of Holmes is Mary investigating the temple by going undercover. I discovered a couple of years after I read the first book that there were more books published after the first book. The continuation of The Beekeeper's Apprentice; Mary Russell meets through her friend Veronica Beaconsfield, Margaret Childe who leads “The New Temple of God”, a charismatic sect for women. But, could New Temple be a cover for something sinister? Several women have died and left the money to the Temple. With the help of Holmes is Mary investigating the temple by going undercover. I discovered a couple of years after I read the first book that there were more books published after the first book. But, they had not like the first book been translated into Swedish, but I decided to buy this one the rest despite the fact that I usually didn’t read that many books in English. One can say that this was the start of me reading English books. So thank you Laurie R. King. Mary Russell is older now and her “relationship” with Sherlock Holmes is at a crossroad, will they continue as they are or will they change the nature of their relationship. Well, that’s the question that this book deals with together with the “The New Temple of God” investigation that will put Mary’s life in danger. Just like the first book is the story superb. I’ve read the book several times, still amazingly good.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kam

    After reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice, I decided to ride on the high of enjoyment I'd acquired while reading it, and plunged straight into the next book in the Mary Russell series, titled A Monstrous Regiment of Women. To say that the title is intriguing is something of an understatement. It is taken from the title of John Knox's treatise The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, which was published in 1558 and is, as the title indicates, a document against women After reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice, I decided to ride on the high of enjoyment I'd acquired while reading it, and plunged straight into the next book in the Mary Russell series, titled A Monstrous Regiment of Women. To say that the title is intriguing is something of an understatement. It is taken from the title of John Knox's treatise The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, which was published in 1558 and is, as the title indicates, a document against women - more specifically, the rule of women. Knox's indictments against women are grounded solidly in the Bible and in associated texts, and he makes many references to them to shore up his case. What he would have made of the Anglican Church's acceptance of women into its ranks as ordained priests and bishops, I'm not certain - though I can imagine the resulting apoplexy would kill him. It is the participation and influence of women in traditionally male spheres that forms the core of the novel. While in London during the Christmas season, Mary Russell bumps into an old acquaintance of hers from Oxford. Said acquaintance is very involved in the activities of a new, predominantly female church, led by one Margery Childe. Russell's involvement in Childe's church and, increasingly, in her acquaintance's personal life, spins out into a series of dangerous misadventures that culminates in Russell and Holmes solving a series of murders of wealthy young women connected to Childe's church, and discovering something about themselves, as well. Unfortunately, this book was hardly as strong as its predecessor, and certainly feels like a letdown. I wish I could give it 2.5 stars, since while one half of it was good, the other half was really quite dreadful. The bits involving theology and women were, I think, the best part. Russell specializes in theology, and her discussions with Childe in connection to the systematic elision or reduction by centuries of translators of the strength of female influence in the Bible are utterly fascinating, and are certainly the strongest moments in the book. Also, Russell's regard of Childe and her thoughts regarding mystics, specifically female mystics such as Catherine of Siena, are fascinating for those who are interested in the role of women in Christianity and their role as recipients and distributors of God's word. However, the other half of the book hardly lives up to the strength of its other half. (view spoiler)[I refer specifically to the heroin subplot, wherein Russell is kidnapped by some mysterious male perpetrator, held in a dank basement, and is shot full of heroin in an attempt to make her hopelessly addicted to the drug. Through sheer strength of will she resists the pull of the drug, and Holmes rescues her eventually, but the episode is far too melodramatic for my tastes, a resounding echo of similar events in soap operas. I should think that soap opera moments have no place in a novel about Holmes and a woman with the same level of intelligence as he - or if it must happen, then it shouldn't happen to them. And yet there it is, and from that moment onwards the novel seems to take a downhill slide. The choice of perpetrator also seemed overly melodramatic to me, another resounding echo of soap opera plotlines. Perhaps I would have been more willing to accept Childe's abusive husband as the mastermind behind the murders if there had been more setup besides that one moment where Russell sees Childe with facial injuries, but there is no such setup. I was actually quite convinced that it was someone else in the Childe's church masterminding the whole thing (I'd actually settled on her maid being the most plausible, with collaborators), and so the fact that it was Childe's husband all along made me feel rather cheated. While I am not one to question the author's choice of perpetrator in a mystery novel, this one was so poorly done that my mind rebelled against it for a good long while, and still does. (hide spoiler)] Finally, there is the change of relationship between Holmes and Russell. Although the beginning of the novel, and indeed, even the previous novel, had already set this whole change up, so I knew it was likely to come relatively soon, the way it comes about did not seem as being quite in-character for both Holmes and Russell. While I've already come to accept - and enjoy - King's more emotional Holmes, and Russell is already quite emotional in her own way (though that emotion is filtered through a dry wit and intellectual mind), the way they reach the conclusion they do about the direction their relationship should take is far too sudden for my liking, not to mention rather out-of-character. The Beekeeper's Apprentice was a solid, enjoyable introduction to a new character and to old, familiar (but not quite) ones. Unfortunately, A Monstrous Regiment of Women is quite the letdown. Weak subplots and melodrama are certainly not what readers of the first book would expect in a second attempt, and their presence weakens incredibly what might otherwise have been an intriguing book. Russell's voice, fortunately, is still as entertaining as ever except when she's being more emotional than usual, and is just enough to sustain the reader throughout this rather awful story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anika

    This is the second in the Mary Russell series, and it loses a star for its lame-o mystery. Mary Russell, now in her early twenties, takes the foreground as her mentor Holmes stays mostly in the background, due to Mary's increasing independence and a rising sexual tension between the two. And again, the characters are the strongest part - in this second book, the plot hinges on a sort of feminist mega-church led by an extremely charismatic woman who surrounds herself with a flock of rich young wo This is the second in the Mary Russell series, and it loses a star for its lame-o mystery. Mary Russell, now in her early twenties, takes the foreground as her mentor Holmes stays mostly in the background, due to Mary's increasing independence and a rising sexual tension between the two. And again, the characters are the strongest part - in this second book, the plot hinges on a sort of feminist mega-church led by an extremely charismatic woman who surrounds herself with a flock of rich young women, who keep turning up dead. The church and this woman, Margery, are fascinating, and yet the mystery, which starts off with a bang, sort of limps along with strange diversions, moments of outright mysticism, and traps that Mary sets which never quite seem to pay off. Also, the resolution is as convenient as a Bond villain helpfully explaining his entire scheme for the benefit of a not-yet-incapacitated Bond. All in all, not quite the bang of the first one, but will I read the third in this series? Why yes, yes I will.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Pedersen

    ***2019 The Summer of Sherlock*** So after the first book of this series (The Beekeeper's Apprentice), I wasn’t sure what I thought of this iteration of the Sherlock Holmes story. But this book is so much more appealing. I surrender, I like this series. The biggest part of my change of mind may be the obvious feminism in this volume. I love Mary Russell’s refusal to be hemmed in by the mores of the day. Cross-dressing when that’s better for getting things done, pursuing investigations not sanc ***2019 The Summer of Sherlock*** So after the first book of this series (The Beekeeper's Apprentice), I wasn’t sure what I thought of this iteration of the Sherlock Holmes story. But this book is so much more appealing. I surrender, I like this series. The biggest part of my change of mind may be the obvious feminism in this volume. I love Mary Russell’s refusal to be hemmed in by the mores of the day. Cross-dressing when that’s better for getting things done, pursuing investigations not sanctioned by any man, and just generally being in charge of her own life (especially now that she’s inherited her family’s wealth and can reorder as desired). I think I also enjoyed this book more because Mr. Holmes played such a small part in it. I mean, yes, he’s there, but Mary is undoubtedly the main character and she is the one driving the plot. King has ramped up the female presence in the detective story by orders of magnitude. I’m also fond of Mary’s friend, Veronica (Ronnie). There’s a woman who knows how to get shit done! I was also interested to read in the afterword that the third book in the series was actually written second. Ms. King needed to know where Mary was headed before she could write the book that actually got her to the destination. So this may be volume 2 of the series, but it was volume 3 in the writing process. Information like this about the writer’s process is fascinating and I wish more authors would write afterwords about their novels.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Three compromise stars Though I was glad to be finished with it, this is a well-told story with some originality and ambition. It was also dark in ways I didn’t care for, including the troubling and somewhat disingenuous romance plot involving Sherlock in near-geezerhood and brimming with unlikability, and a very young thing, almost 40 years his junior and barely out of girlhood, though he has had a lustful eye on her since her actual girlhood. Combine that with drug addiction, a cult, and a theo Three compromise stars Though I was glad to be finished with it, this is a well-told story with some originality and ambition. It was also dark in ways I didn’t care for, including the troubling and somewhat disingenuous romance plot involving Sherlock in near-geezerhood and brimming with unlikability, and a very young thing, almost 40 years his junior and barely out of girlhood, though he has had a lustful eye on her since her actual girlhood. Combine that with drug addiction, a cult, and a theology theme that feels out of place, and by the end I felt I needed some kind of cleansing. I remember enjoying the first in the series quite a bit more. I’m somewhat interested to continue and see where the series goes, while being reluctant to go further behind the closed doors of Sherlock’s personal life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is my favorite of the Holmes/Russell series, and one of my favorite books, period. I've read it innumerable times, and keep coming back to it. A beautiful blend of coming-of-age, detection, romance, and gritty drama, it gets at the heart of the series. Mary Russell's friend draws her into what seems like an odd religious cult, with disturbing overtones. At the same time, she has to settle a growing discomfort with her relationship with Holmes, and her future with him. Read it -- this book i This is my favorite of the Holmes/Russell series, and one of my favorite books, period. I've read it innumerable times, and keep coming back to it. A beautiful blend of coming-of-age, detection, romance, and gritty drama, it gets at the heart of the series. Mary Russell's friend draws her into what seems like an odd religious cult, with disturbing overtones. At the same time, she has to settle a growing discomfort with her relationship with Holmes, and her future with him. Read it -- this book is awesome. But probably read The Beekeeper's Apprentice first, so you know what's going on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    This is a solid, entertaining follow up book in a stand out series. I can’t say enough good things about this book and the series as a whole. King isn’t afraid of putting her characters into unique situations and is willing to touch on sensitive subjects such as religion. She clearly spends time researching the historic period, religious, political, and social issues of the day. Her attention to detail is effortless and will keep readers salivating for more Russell and Holmes! See my full review This is a solid, entertaining follow up book in a stand out series. I can’t say enough good things about this book and the series as a whole. King isn’t afraid of putting her characters into unique situations and is willing to touch on sensitive subjects such as religion. She clearly spends time researching the historic period, religious, political, and social issues of the day. Her attention to detail is effortless and will keep readers salivating for more Russell and Holmes! See my full review here

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    Mary Russell is such a fantastic character. Here, she contends with an organization called the Temple that assists at-risk London women, and motivates wealthier women after the losses of their independence and authority during WWI. The organization is led by a powerfully charismatic woman, Margery, who is impressed by Mary. Mary has her suspicions about Margery, as three women involved with the organization have died under suspicious circumstances after rewriting their wills, giving all their mo Mary Russell is such a fantastic character. Here, she contends with an organization called the Temple that assists at-risk London women, and motivates wealthier women after the losses of their independence and authority during WWI. The organization is led by a powerfully charismatic woman, Margery, who is impressed by Mary. Mary has her suspicions about Margery, as three women involved with the organization have died under suspicious circumstances after rewriting their wills, giving all their money to the Temple. Mary also achieves her majority, and her parents’ wealth, while also finally throwing off her aunt’s reach into her life. Mary is such an interesting character, sharing some of Sherlock’s characteristics, but still being more personable and likeable than the detective. She is also intrigued and puzzled by what’s going on at the Temple to begin investigating on her own, finding much that is suspicious and odd about the organization’s leader and finances. I greatly enjoyed watching Mary at work, and even though she undergoes some terrible things whilst sleuthing, this was such an enjoyable story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Clif Brittain

    As I put this book down at 2 AM, I found myself thinking, why was this book so delicious? I am not as enthralled with Mary Russell as I was after being introduced to her in Beekeepers Apprentice. Maybe it is because now that I know her character, there is less to learn about her. I am not quite so awed by her beauty, but if she keeps getting nicked with knives, bullets and needles, there won't be much of that left. There were fewer brilliant deductions and fewer encounters with Holmes, although As I put this book down at 2 AM, I found myself thinking, why was this book so delicious? I am not as enthralled with Mary Russell as I was after being introduced to her in Beekeepers Apprentice. Maybe it is because now that I know her character, there is less to learn about her. I am not quite so awed by her beauty, but if she keeps getting nicked with knives, bullets and needles, there won't be much of that left. There were fewer brilliant deductions and fewer encounters with Holmes, although those encounters were fun. Never short of confidence, she is less vulnerable than she was before. This causes Holmes to (unfoundedly) worry a little less. I already knew I liked her because she was smarter than me, perhaps even smarter than Holmes. It is nothing for Mary to learn a language over a weekend, work on the accent during the week, and have all the slang, idioms and regional accents down pat over the course of a month. It takes even my most brilliant friends at least a year to this. Although I don't think of myself as easily impressed by money, Mary is impressive. She can spend money, but it always works out that she is spending it wisely. Power shopping is a skill I haven't developed and few of my friends (actually none of them) seem competent in this skill (Christine - I think you have the greatest potential). Mary and Lisbeth Salander would make a wonderful pair out on the town. Imagine Mary, nearly six feet tall and Lisbeth, not quite five feet, pierced and tattooed, out spending Big Bucks all day long then fighting Bad Boys all night long, then going home and having tea together. But poor Sherlock would be shredded by Lisbeth the first time he pulled the Victorian Gentleman schtick. Then Mary would have to have it out with Lisbeth. Of course there is the possibility that Mary would recognize Lisbeth as the better match and leave the shreds of Holmes to Watson. Mary's academic tool kit is interesting. Ancient (feminist) Judaism, chemistry, and math, not to mention the odd language or two. Her wealth is interesting. Country homes, city flats, ranches, factories (that run themselves). Her friends are interesting, although there aren't very many of them. She is pretty dangerous to be around, so that is probably just as well. So why do I like Mary and like her books? I guess it is because she is what I would like to be. It reminds me of a story I heard about Cary Grant. Someone told him that he would like to be Cary Grant. Grant replied, "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. I want to be Cary Grant." Mary - brilliant, tall, witty, rich polyglot. Pretty much like me. Sherlock, move over.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Giselle Bradley

    2.5 Stars Overall I'm pretty sad about this book. There were elements that I thought were going to be explained as part of the mystery that weren't. Although I did find this story more engaging than the first as far as the mystery went I didn't enjoy it as much. The first captured me with the platonic relationship between Mary and Sherlock and his mentoring her. This one didn't have that at all. Although I did enjoy getting to spend time with Mary and her developing character in this book I was 2.5 Stars Overall I'm pretty sad about this book. There were elements that I thought were going to be explained as part of the mystery that weren't. Although I did find this story more engaging than the first as far as the mystery went I didn't enjoy it as much. The first captured me with the platonic relationship between Mary and Sherlock and his mentoring her. This one didn't have that at all. Although I did enjoy getting to spend time with Mary and her developing character in this book I was let down by something drastic that will change the rest of the series. (view spoiler)[ Was anyone else majorly weirded out by them getting married? (hide spoiler)] I really hate the direction this will take the future books. (view spoiler)[ I mean I LOVED the relationship between them in the first book. And him saying "“I've wanted to do that *kiss her* since the moment I laid eyes upon you." weirds me out so much. He's 40 years older than her and met her when she was 15. Like WTF? I also find it hard to believe that 55 year old Sherlock who has held himself so far apart from the masses for so many years is that instantly attracted to someone like that. Like that line really ruined it for me. I could have bought it if it was their brains falling in love and being on that level. But him instantly wanting to kiss her when she was still essentially a child. Ugh. Just so much no. (hide spoiler)] Despite all that I did give it 2.5 stars (rounded up) just out of enjoyment of characters and writing. I love being in Mary's head! Except when she's (view spoiler)[ mooning over Holmes. (hide spoiler)] So overall I don't know. If you've read this please discus with me! I have so many feelings!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    She crossed the line. She took what was an interesting take on a literary icon and got all mushy and romantic. The first book was much better than this, and she'd have been fine keeping Holmes and Russell as a team rather than a couple. A married Sherlock Holmes... just ridiculous. She crossed the line. She took what was an interesting take on a literary icon and got all mushy and romantic. The first book was much better than this, and she'd have been fine keeping Holmes and Russell as a team rather than a couple. A married Sherlock Holmes... just ridiculous.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Perry

    The second of Laurie King’s Mary Russell books returns to her heroine as she graduates from Oxford. In London she encounters an old friend from earlier in university who is involved with the a church whose leader is a charismatic feminist. But is all as it seems? There are many things I like about this book. The writing is excellent, and the post-WW1 British English *almost* spot on (there are a couple of slips, but nothing that made me shudder - the occasional “out the window” sort of thing). Wh The second of Laurie King’s Mary Russell books returns to her heroine as she graduates from Oxford. In London she encounters an old friend from earlier in university who is involved with the a church whose leader is a charismatic feminist. But is all as it seems? There are many things I like about this book. The writing is excellent, and the post-WW1 British English *almost* spot on (there are a couple of slips, but nothing that made me shudder - the occasional “out the window” sort of thing). While some of the phrasing is a little modern it is not distractingly so, and the general tone conveys the era - I suppose as someone writing a book set in the Elizabethan age would use generally modern English and use tone and metre for effect. King draws the characters well, and I very much like Mary Russell, the strong young woman with a fierce intellect which is a match for Holmes’ own. The construction of the book is very well done, blending the mystery element in with a story about the emerging ‘first wave’ feminist movement of the early 1920s (female suffrage having been granted in 1918). I very much like the use of Russell’s background, her Jewish heritage and knowledge of Talmudic and Biblical studies. As the above may imply, there are things I dislike about the books, and they are deliberate choices by the author. One I can forgive, as it is very much integral to the books. The growing romantic relationship between Russell and Holmes is for me, as a long-time Sherlock Holmes aficionado, a little hard to stomach - and not just due to the fact of the 21 year old Russell having a relationship with a man almost three times her age, which I find frankly a bit icky. Yes, King does an excellent job of humanising Holmes, showing levels of his reserve and cool intellect and that there is more to him, but the (thankfully brief and rare) romantic interludes do seem a little Mills and Boon. There is almost swooning. There is another thing, however, that I found quite bizarre. Fun is made of Arthur Conan Doyle’s promotion of the Cottingley fairies (I do like the in-joke that the Sherlock Holmes stories were provided to Doyle via Watson and this explains the disconnect between the ‘real’ Holmes and the literary one). So, all along we have the no-nonsense evidential, rational approach we expect, only at the very end to find that what we had assumed to be a piece of trickery was in fact an instance of real, honest-to-God (as it were) faith healing. This seemed so crowbarred in, so antithetical to what is the essence of Sherlock Holmes that it lost me completely, and lost the book a star.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    A Monstrous Regiment of Women isn't my favorite of the Holmes/Russell novels, but that's a little like saying dark isn't my favorite type of chocolate. It's still chocolate, and therefore by definition far better than many another thing. Mary Russell has graduated from Oxford, is about to turn twenty-one and achieve separation from her horrible aunt … and her joy at these two events is dampened a bit by the peculiarities of her evolving relationship with her mentor Holmes, never an easy person to A Monstrous Regiment of Women isn't my favorite of the Holmes/Russell novels, but that's a little like saying dark isn't my favorite type of chocolate. It's still chocolate, and therefore by definition far better than many another thing. Mary Russell has graduated from Oxford, is about to turn twenty-one and achieve separation from her horrible aunt … and her joy at these two events is dampened a bit by the peculiarities of her evolving relationship with her mentor Holmes, never an easy person to deal with at the best of times. It is while Mary is, literally, on the run from him that a friend from school runs into her by chance, and she needs help. Not financial, by any means, but in most other ways: her fiancé has come home from the war in something less than the shape she saw him off in, and there's also something going on at a church she has begun to frequent… Mary, the logical-minded theology scholar, raises eyebrows at the "church", but she agrees to help, if for no other reason than that her partnership with Holmes is being challenged by an extraordinary circumstance and she needs occupation. Preferably some occupation in which she can prove herself to be independent of her iconic mentor. She is drawn into the orbit of Margery Childe, the proto-feminist mystic head of the New Temple of God, and her expectations are upended. The obvious chicanery she anticipated is nowhere to be seen, and instead Childe turns out to be a small woman of tremendous charisma – and, perhaps, something else. Russell is on her own through much of MRoW. Holmes swoops in to bear off the shell-shocked and drug-addicted fiancé to an Edwardian rehab facility, and appears here and there for the rest of the story, but this is mostly Russell's investigation. She grows and expands in this book, not all in positive ways as the story takes a wild left turn into kidnapping and drug addiction. It's painful, and difficult – and melodramatic and improbable – and Laurie R. King sells it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Siddharth

    What a ridiculously horrid follow up to the fantastic 'the beekeper's apprentice'!..Mary Russel as a narrator is intolerable..so self centered! the book drags on ever so slowly with barely a semblance of a plot,let alone a mystery..terrible. Never picking up a Laurie King book again. And to think i was excited about a whole series about mary russel and sherlock holmes! What a ridiculously horrid follow up to the fantastic 'the beekeper's apprentice'!..Mary Russel as a narrator is intolerable..so self centered! the book drags on ever so slowly with barely a semblance of a plot,let alone a mystery..terrible. Never picking up a Laurie King book again. And to think i was excited about a whole series about mary russel and sherlock holmes!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lou Kemp

    I'd read this years ago and enjoyed it. But, my highest concern then was what happened to 'The Green Man," the character who was a character in all definitions of the word. He was not only lovable, but the reader could identify with him and feel his pain and joys. His happiness could reform a cynic. I wrote to the author, and asked if The Green Man would return or was he gone. She responded that he would be back. In this effort, I had no problem with the May-December romance X's 5, because Mary I'd read this years ago and enjoyed it. But, my highest concern then was what happened to 'The Green Man," the character who was a character in all definitions of the word. He was not only lovable, but the reader could identify with him and feel his pain and joys. His happiness could reform a cynic. I wrote to the author, and asked if The Green Man would return or was he gone. She responded that he would be back. In this effort, I had no problem with the May-December romance X's 5, because Mary is not a sexual being; she is portrayed as mainly cerebral, and aware of society's expectations. She asks Holmes to marry her, and he wisely senses it is because of her worry about their close proximity, more than a passionate desire to wed. Margery, the larger than life central character was drawn well also, as were the bad guys. The author crafted the story well, all the way to the end, and the finale befitted the personal finale totally. The sad thing about the work of the church of women was that the exact horrible conditions that women faced in 1921 are mirrored in today's state of women who need assistance. We haven't come too far, have we? My favorite part? When Mary was livid with Holmes, and she didn't just flip a blanket over his head as their carriage went down the street, she executed a backflip off the rear of the carriage and then threw a bottle into the path of the horses to spook them and send Holmes on his way with no doubt of where Mary's feelings lay at the moment.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Estepp

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Disappointing. After "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" I was looking forward to having an entire new mystery series to delve into, but if this is what I'm in for I don't know that I'll bother. There was the barest inkling of a good story, here - the religious element and the idea of the "regiment of women" - but all that was undercut but weaknesses in the story. And what weaknesses. Mary Russell turns into Pauline in peril, getting addicted to heroin by our nefarious (and completely random) villain an Disappointing. After "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" I was looking forward to having an entire new mystery series to delve into, but if this is what I'm in for I don't know that I'll bother. There was the barest inkling of a good story, here - the religious element and the idea of the "regiment of women" - but all that was undercut but weaknesses in the story. And what weaknesses. Mary Russell turns into Pauline in peril, getting addicted to heroin by our nefarious (and completely random) villain and has to be rescued by Sherlock Holmes? Who, incidentally, is totally in lurve with her and wants her to become his wife? And the miraculous healing of the head of the feminist lady church was actually a miraculous healing of the head of the feminist lady church, who inexplicably has a secret nefarious villain husband? What? Cue eye roll after eye roll. I just can't. Too much melodrama and too much telling-not-showing. And preemptively saying, "Ha, ha, I know it would be a ridiculous plot point for this kidnapping/addiction to happen, but, hey, I'm going to do it anyway" doesn't make it acceptable. And the Mary + Sherlock = true love forever just seemed utterly ridiculous. I feel like the need to declare: I'm not a purist. I don't mind the idea of Sherlock getting it on. I liked Irene Adler. I'd gladly watching Holmes and Watson get it on (especially if we're talking modern PBS incarnations). And while I admit that stories wherein the much older father figure admits that he Loves the young protagonist, and has loved her since she was a much younger girl, always skeeves me out a bit, if I believe in it, I can set my skeeves aside and go with it. However, I totally didn't believe it here. Mary's comments along the lines of, "things were awkward between Sherlock and I because we were pulsing with sexual tension" (obviously not a direct quote, but the gist is there) seemed to come all out of left field and even though I really tried to find evidence of that in the text - beyond Mary's saying it - I couldn't. Because it wasn't there. So then at, what I suppose is supposed to be really effecting moments, first when drugged up Mary realizes that she loves Sherlock and then later when good old Sherlock rescues her and declare his love and proposes, I just couldn't decide between laughing, eye rolling and wanting to throw the book down in disgust. (I opted for eye rolling, as it was the easiest option.) Rant over. Readers seem to concur that this is the weakest of the lot and the rest of the series is worth reading. I might, but I'm not rushing into anything.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    3.5 stars. I’ve been putting this one off because of the mixed reviews, but I liked it, and I’ve already ordered the next book in the series. The setting is great, and King’s writing is more than strong enough to overcome some plot weaknesses. This has a great and suitable title, and I loved the anti-feminist quotes at the beginning of each chapter, everything from St. Paul’s "Women should keep silent in church" to Shakespeare’s "Thy husband is thy lord". It takes place in 1921 just as Mary is obt 3.5 stars. I’ve been putting this one off because of the mixed reviews, but I liked it, and I’ve already ordered the next book in the series. The setting is great, and King’s writing is more than strong enough to overcome some plot weaknesses. This has a great and suitable title, and I loved the anti-feminist quotes at the beginning of each chapter, everything from St. Paul’s "Women should keep silent in church" to Shakespeare’s "Thy husband is thy lord". It takes place in 1921 just as Mary is obtaining her majority, thus adding a substantial fortune to her improbable list of brilliant qualities. In London she is introduced to a charismatic female preacher who is undoubtedly doing good works on behalf of women, but there are a suspicious number of deaths among women whose wills are known to benefit the preacher’s organization. It’s a weak mystery, with an even weaker resolution, but it very much belongs to Mary. Sherlock Holmes provides a supporting role, albeit an important one. I was annoyed by the single mystical element that is not given a rational solution; particularly since the author goes out of her way to mock Doyle for his dabbles in the paranormal. This has its romantic moments. However, despite Shakespeare’s advice to "Let still the woman take an elder than herself", I can’t help a twinge of discomfort at the 40-yr age gap between Russell and Holmes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rena Sherwood

    Sherlock Holmes wants to bang an obnoxious 15 year old? No thanks! Laurie King hasn't done Sherlock Holmes fans any favors with not only this book, but the whole inexplicably popular series. There's just no accounting for taste. There are a lot of twists and turns in this particular book that go nowhere. And some bits are just pointless. Mary doing a back flip off the top of a hansom cab JUST because Holmes says something borderline obnoxious. What the hell with a back flip? Just jump off. No nee Sherlock Holmes wants to bang an obnoxious 15 year old? No thanks! Laurie King hasn't done Sherlock Holmes fans any favors with not only this book, but the whole inexplicably popular series. There's just no accounting for taste. There are a lot of twists and turns in this particular book that go nowhere. And some bits are just pointless. Mary doing a back flip off the top of a hansom cab JUST because Holmes says something borderline obnoxious. What the hell with a back flip? Just jump off. No need to be a diving diva about it. Sadly, the whole book is like this -- and the one after it which I also read (stupidly.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Mary is the focus of this story and I enjoyed it. There is an element of humor in the story that I really liked. The theology background and information was very interesting to me too. I care about Sherlock Holmes and I am not put off by the author's treatment of him. It is a bit different to read him as a secondary character, so I have to keep reminding myself when he is not present. Jenny Sterlin gave an honest performance as the voice of Mary, but I will prefer to read the text accounts in fu Mary is the focus of this story and I enjoyed it. There is an element of humor in the story that I really liked. The theology background and information was very interesting to me too. I care about Sherlock Holmes and I am not put off by the author's treatment of him. It is a bit different to read him as a secondary character, so I have to keep reminding myself when he is not present. Jenny Sterlin gave an honest performance as the voice of Mary, but I will prefer to read the text accounts in future novels in the series.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bibliovoracious

    I didn't love this one, after falling hard for the Beekeeper's Apprentice. I was disappointed by the supporting actress (Margery), the shallow mystery, and the cheap romance. The theology and the "miracle" shoehorned in was eye-rolling. Likewise with the upcropping gallantry of Holmes. This does not bode well. What was amusing was the sniping at Sir A.C.Doyle's real-life "spiritualism" - meta! I didn't love this one, after falling hard for the Beekeeper's Apprentice. I was disappointed by the supporting actress (Margery), the shallow mystery, and the cheap romance. The theology and the "miracle" shoehorned in was eye-rolling. Likewise with the upcropping gallantry of Holmes. This does not bode well. What was amusing was the sniping at Sir A.C.Doyle's real-life "spiritualism" - meta!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Full review @ Smoke & Mirrors: https://books-n-music.blogspot.com/20.... A fantastic read! This series...just love it! Can't wait to read the third installment! Twists and turns, some not-so-surprising and others very surprising!! Full review @ Smoke & Mirrors: https://books-n-music.blogspot.com/20.... A fantastic read! This series...just love it! Can't wait to read the third installment! Twists and turns, some not-so-surprising and others very surprising!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    Satisfying plot with very interesting research on the Bible and feminism.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Schuyler

    Solid second installment. As an aspiring mystery author who's currently studying theology, I find King's path from theologian to author fascinating. What's also interesting is that a lot of quotes she uses at the beginning of her chapters are from a theologian I studied last semester. I'd like to pull out the quotes in their original context to see what Chrysostom was originally trying to say, because the ones King used had concerning implications for the biblical status of women. Other Sherlock Solid second installment. As an aspiring mystery author who's currently studying theology, I find King's path from theologian to author fascinating. What's also interesting is that a lot of quotes she uses at the beginning of her chapters are from a theologian I studied last semester. I'd like to pull out the quotes in their original context to see what Chrysostom was originally trying to say, because the ones King used had concerning implications for the biblical status of women. Other Sherlock retellings I've tried were full of sentimentalism and infuriatingly weak deductions. King's inclusions of feminism, sarcasm, and theology lend hard enough edges to the stories to keep that from happening. Even when I disagree with her, I still enjoy her.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I picked this up at an opportunity shop. I'm glad I did as it was a fun read. Mary Russell is an interesting character. Sherlock Holmes is present, but much more in the background. The plot involves suffrage, a female mystic, and a series of unexplained deaths. All good fun, even if the villain is a little stereotypical. But this is only the second book of the series, so I am assuming the bad guys get a little more subtle as time goes on. Highly recommended. I picked this up at an opportunity shop. I'm glad I did as it was a fun read. Mary Russell is an interesting character. Sherlock Holmes is present, but much more in the background. The plot involves suffrage, a female mystic, and a series of unexplained deaths. All good fun, even if the villain is a little stereotypical. But this is only the second book of the series, so I am assuming the bad guys get a little more subtle as time goes on. Highly recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Toria

    Not what I thought it would be and didn't know it was part of a series when I started it. Some parts of this was quite good but for the most part it wasn't mh kind of book but I thought the audiobook of this was well done and I got a sense that the book itself was well written. But not my cup of tea Not what I thought it would be and didn't know it was part of a series when I started it. Some parts of this was quite good but for the most part it wasn't mh kind of book but I thought the audiobook of this was well done and I got a sense that the book itself was well written. But not my cup of tea

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I preferred book 1 but still very enjoyable!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This is the second book in Laurie R. King's series. (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes) Mary Russell, a young woman who is the apprentice of Sherlock Holmes, is a student at Oxford getting ready to defend her thesis, and a student of Sherlock Holmes in her spare time. The theme centers around religion and the place of women in society. A smoothly magnetic woman preacher has established a Temple to do good works for downtrodden women in London, and to give capable and intelligent women who worked This is the second book in Laurie R. King's series. (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes) Mary Russell, a young woman who is the apprentice of Sherlock Holmes, is a student at Oxford getting ready to defend her thesis, and a student of Sherlock Holmes in her spare time. The theme centers around religion and the place of women in society. A smoothly magnetic woman preacher has established a Temple to do good works for downtrodden women in London, and to give capable and intelligent women who worked during the war (and are now no longer allowed to maintain their jobs due to the soldiers coming home) an outlet for their intelligence and drive. Leaders of the Temple keep dying and getting hurt, though. Smartly written with good character development. Would suggest reading this series in order.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Ray

    Good stories, and there are lots. Here's what the author says about herself: https://laurierking.com/author-pages/... Good stories, and there are lots. Here's what the author says about herself: https://laurierking.com/author-pages/...

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