My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m not a big YA or JF fan, but I picked up The Case of the Missing Moonstone because I LOVE fictional reinterpretations of the Romantics. (Passion, Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land, you know what I’m talking about.) What Moonstone gives you, however, is an alternate history tale that pairs Mary Godwin (author of Frankenstein) and Ada Byron (the math whiz we venerate on Ada Lovelace Day) as two curious girls who start their own secret constabulary. Romantic meets Victorian in the foggy London of the early 1800s.
The mystery itself is a stripped-down version of The Moonstone (which the author acknowledges at the end) with a mild strain of steampunk running through it. While kids may enjoy the daring adventures of the two friends, there are plenty of interesting contemporary science, literature and history reference that parents may enjoy. What I’m curious about is how historical figures will be recast in the series & what their relationship will be. Also appearing so far is Percy Bysshe Shelley as the girls’ tutor, Charles Dickens as their young partner-in-mischief, and Charles Babbage as an eccentric visitor. But the next book in the series will include Mary’s half-sister Jane (soon to be Claire) Clairmont and Ada’s half-sister Allegra (who in our real timeline was the child of Claire & Lord Byron.) Looking forward to those origin stories.
To me, Moonstone is a nice mixture of Nancy Drew and Sally Lockhart Quartet but for younger readers. I might actually continue reading this series despite myself.