The Invention of Sophie Carter by Samantha Hastings
Format: ARC provided by Fierce Reads
Top 3 Genres: Historical, Family, Young Adult
My rating: Set it on fire/ If you have nothing else to read/ you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: CA • US • FR• Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
Today I’m part of the blog tour organized by Fierce Reads for the Invention of Sophie Carter, that just came out earlier this week. Historical fiction, 19th century London and twin sisters messing around? That’s all I needed to be convinced by this book and pick it up!
1851. Bounced from one begrudging relative to another their whole lives, orphaned identical twins Sophie and Mariah Carter have always relied on each other for love and support, even though the sisters couldn’t be more different.
Brash Sophie wants to be an inventor, and demure Mariah wants to be an artist. Both long to visit London for the summer—Sophie to see the Queen’s Great Exhibition and Mariah to study the world’s finest collection of paintings. But when their cantankerous aunt answers their letter pleading for a place to stay, she insists she only has time and room to spare for one of them.
So, Mariah and Sophie hatch a clever scheme: They will travel to London together and take turns playing the part of « Sophie ».
At first the plan runs like clockwork. But as the girls avoid getting caught by increasingly narrow margins and two handsome gentlemen—both of whom think they’re falling in love with the real Sophie Carter—enter the equation, the sisters find they don’t have the situation quite as under control as they thought.
Being sisters and poor in the 19th century London
First thing I really enjoyed in this book: the sibling bond. It is really what caught my attention, as it’s a trope that I think can be very interesting. And it was in this book! It was very interesting to see how different the sisters are: Sophie, the inventor, Mariah, a bit more delicate and close to her emotions (think Elizabeth vs Catherine Bennett haha).
It was also fun to see how they were trying to be one person, while also finding who they could be as individuals. The trick this book rests on is one of the classical twin ones, and it works! All the sneaking around there is… you know it will end poorly haha, but you watch them with delight still.
The historical setting was really enjoyable too: the 19th century in London is one of my favorite times and places, and I was not disappointed here! Walking on the streets of London, in Hyde Park, or discovering the Crystal Palace, I loved it! I would say that there are some details helping a lot with entering this time period, but it is not the most detailed book either. I wish there were even more details on daily life, also because some things felt a bit out of time.
If Jane Austen had lived in our time, I want to believe it is the kind of thing she would have written: the story of two sisters, stuck in their place as women, but also taking their lives in their own hands. It has definitely some modern thinking and actions that would not have truly been so easy in the 19th century, but it was definitely a great YA historical fiction if you do not mind characters being a bit out of time in their mindset!
In a few words
An enticing YA historical fiction, with well-built characters and this romantic Jane Austen vibe. It may not be 100% historically accurate, but it was great if you look for something light and cute, while also navigating London’s best!
See you for a cup,