Title: The Last of August
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
2017 Book Challenge Entry: A book with a month or day of the week in the title
Thoughts: A while ago, I read the first book in the Charlotte Holmes mystery trilogy, A Study in Charlotte. As my previous post will attest, I freaking loved it. I loved it so much, I immediately went out and got the second book of the series, The Last of August.
Spoiler alert. I loved this book too. I read it super fast and upon finishing it, was super stoked to find the third book and finish the trilogy. I kind of have an obsession with serieses. Series. Serieseses…What is the plural of series? Is it like fish? I think it is. Anyway, I like to start a series from the beginning and finish the whole thing when possible. I hate starting a TV or book series from anywhere but episode or book 1. It might be my somewhat OCD-ness talking, but when I do get to start something from the beginning, I usually will finish it, even if I’m not super into it after a while. I just. Need to finish the thing. This series though, I was all in. Like crazy in.
I started looking around online and found very quickly that this book, book 2, was published in February of this year. Which means that not only is the third book not out yet, she probably isn’t even done writing it. I was wicked bummed. BUT! That means when the third book does come out, I get to reread the first two in preparation and that is something I am very much looking forward to.
Because again. I. Loved. This. Book.
So here’s the deal. This book picks up a week after the first book ends. Charlotte and Jamie are fresh off their adventures and are enjoying Christmas vacation. As best friends/possible romantic interests, they spend a bit of time with his family and then travel to the U.K. to spend time with her family. While with the Holmes’, Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing and the kids set off to figure out what happened to him. As they tear across Europe to find Leander, and begin to uncover a tangled web that includes art forgery (another of my favorite things!), they uncover some very disturbing truths about the Holmes’ family. On top of all that, Jamie and Charlotte’s feelings for one another continue to develop and become more complicated. But wait!
The Moriarty family, sworn enemies of the Holmes and the family of Charlotte’s first love, August, are involved in Leander’s disappearance somehow. Jamie and Charlotte end up enlisting August’s help in trying to figure out what is going on and how to bring Leander home safely.
Here’s the skinny on this. The action of the chase through Europe is fun anyway, but I love a good art heist storyline. I genuinely love art history and think forgery and art theft is completely fascinating. Honestly, who decides which pieces of art are important and which ones are not? Why do thieves and forgers target certain works and artists and not others? Are works of art only made important or valuable once they have been violated in some way? Does the violation of theft or forgery make them more sought after? Why? I love it.
The Last of August not only tackles the art side of this story in a very interesting way, it also shows that a love triangle doesn’t have to be a stereotypical trope. The addition of August Moriarty could easily have made the dynamic between August, Jamie and Charlotte predictable and boring, but Cavallaro has created characters with flaws and layers so the relationships and the way they evolve are believable and interesting. As they run across Europe, Charlotte has to wrestle with her feelings for these two guys and Jamie has to deal with the fact that she is not going to change. She will always be analytical and slightly cold. It masks a damaged heart, and he wants to get to it and hold and make her feel safe, but he can’t change her. He has to wait and be patient while she figures out if opening herself up is worth it. He also has to understand that she and August have a ton in common and he is built from different stock. All three of them have to figure out their place in these families and while they are doing that, oh yeah, they are trying to solve this art forgery/kidnapping case.
Shit gets dangerous yo.
I seriously can’t recommend this book enough. You absolutely have to read the first book to understand and appreciate the second, but it’s worth it. It’s a great ride with fantastic characters and Cavallaro does a great job of taking a plot that has been done over and over with characters that harken to ones we are familiar with and somehow breathes new life into it making it feel fresh and exciting. It leaves on a cliff hanger to set up the third book and personally, I can’t wait to see how this journey ends.