Monday, March 13, 2023

Review & Excerpt: A Tempest at Sea by Sherry Thomas

Lady Sherlock #7
Read As A Stand Alone: Not recommended
Publisher: Berkley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Buying Links: Amazon* | Apple Books* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | Kobo |
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Blurb from goodreads:

Charlotte Holmes’s brilliant mind and deductive skills are pulled into a dangerous investigation at sea in the new mystery in the bestselling Lady Sherlock series.

After feigning her own death in Cornwall to escape from Moriarty’s perilous attention, Charlotte Holmes goes into hiding. But then she receives a tempting offer: Find a dossier the crown is desperately seeking to recover, and she might be able to go back to a normal life.

Her search leads her aboard the RMS Provence, sailing from Southampton for the eastern hemisphere. But on the night Charlotte makes her move to retrieve the dossier, in the midst of a terrifying storm in the Bay of Biscay, a brutal murder also takes place on the ship.

Instead of solving the crime, as she is accustomed to doing, Charlotte must take care not to be embroiled in this investigation, lest it become known to those who harbor ill intentions that Sherlock Holmes is abroad and still very much alive.

My Thoughts:

A Tempest at Sea finds Charlotte Holmes hiding out after her "death"in the previous book. Then she has a chance to regain her life by performing a mission for the government, and ends up on a ship, RMS Provence. Along with almost the entire series cast of characters and some new ones. Charlotte's still in hiding, only a few people know she is still alive, so she has to get creative. 

However, a murder shortly after the ship sails means Charlotte has to pivot. In order for her to do her job, the oh-so-inconvenient murder needs to be found. But as she's in hiding, she has to rely more than usual on her friends and associates. 

Being confined on a ship gave the mystery a strong locked room feel to the mystery and there were red herrings and twists and turns a-plenty. Thomas kept me guessing on the identity of the killer and I enjoyed the many different perspectives on what happened. I did find that the large cast of characters could get overwhelming and not all of them were really necessary. Also, with so many characters, and a mystery as well as a murder to solve, characters weren't as well fleshed out as previous books. Some of the phrasing was awkward and clunky also.

Still, despite those issues, I enjoyed this book and it kept my attention. I am eager for the next book, and wish we didn't have to wait!

The RMS Provence, berthed quayside at the Port of Southampton, shone in the sun, its steel hull a gleaming black, its upper levels blazing white. Four masts, each with three sets of cross-beams, rose fifty feet from the weather deck. Though they had the full complement of rigging, no sails had been unfurled to flap in the breeze. A platoon of seagulls squatted on the cross-beams; one strutted across as if on parade.

The masts were only auxiliary features. The Provence’s propulsion depended on a triple-expansion steam engine that drove a single screw propeller. Two stubby and rather incongruous-looking funnels rose between the masts, to conduct exhaust from the great boilers below up and away from the vessel.

“Are you sure that one over there is not…her?” asked Mrs. Watson suddenly, her voice low and anxious.

Charlotte, standing with her back to the gunwale, her face tilted up to admire the structural design of the Provence—so as not to appear too interested in the passengers—glanced toward “that one over there” referred to by Mrs. Watson, a woman of about thirty who had her hand on the shoulder of a young girl, the girl just tall enough to peer over the gunwale down at the still bustling quay. 

“No,” she murmured, telling Mrs. Watson what the latter already know. “The one we’re looking for would be traveling with a boy. Two boys, in fact.”

Three weeks had passed since Charlotte and Lord Remington’s emissary had agreed to terms. Her search since had been thorough, systematic, and fruitless. As fate would have it, her final possibility, a German governess, was scheduled to board the Provence, on the exact sailing as that taken by Livia, Mrs. Newell, and Lord Ingram.

The ship had a maximum passenger capacity of only seventy. It sold only first-class passages, so everyone came aboard on the same gangplank. Charlotte was sure she’d missed no one, but noon was drawing nigh and Frau Schmidt and her charges had yet to appear.  

She turned around. The Provence measured four hundred forty feet in length and forty-four feet across at the beam, but other than the towering masts, next to which the funnels looked like dwarfs, it was not a terribly tall ship. With a hull full of coal and cargo, and the quay a good six feet above water, Charlotte did not loom much higher above the quay than she would have been, looking down from the bow window of her office at number 18 to Upper Baker Street below.

Burly stevedores surrounded the last few wagons of provisions. Enormous slabs of ice, cover in straw mats, were crane-lifted into the hold to keep those provisions fresh. Further away a mail wagon jostled toward shipside, eager to entrust its contents to a royal mail ship headed for the distant outposts of the empire.

Wait, the man coming up the gangplank, early middle age, tall, slightly portly, with a deep-featured face and a cordial expression, was he…

Yes, he was. Inspector Brighton of Scotland Yard.

Charlotte glanced down at the water, it was low tide in the estuary and a band of green growth clung to the side of the quay. The air smelled of coal smoke, grease, and a hint of rubbish. She did not look at Inspector Brighton again, not even when he must have disappeared inside. There had been a Brighton on the passenger list, but she and Lord Ingram had not considered that it might be their former adversary.

What was he doing here?

Excerpted from A Tempest at Sea by Sherry Thomas Copyright © 2023 by Sherry Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About Sherry ~

USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

Sherry immigrated from China at age 13 and English is her second language. She is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable "Best of the Year" lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.

Sherry Thomas is represented by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency.

Find Sherry Online ~

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Photo by Jennifer Sparks Harriman


  1. This sounds like a great series! I still need to start this one...

    1. It's very good! A little confusing at times but good.

  2. I love this series so much!!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. I did really enjoy this but do agree about the cast of characters. I have a hard time remembering all the ins and outs of all the different characters.


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