Ever since Samantha talked about this book at her book launch for The Last Word, I’ve been sooo excited to read this book! Twin hijinks are my favorite! And you know my love for sister stories 😉
Title: The Invention of Sophie Carter
Author: Samantha Hastings
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pub Date: July 14, 2020
Genres: YA Historical Romance
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Identical twin sisters take turns swapping places over the course of a summer in order to pursue their secret ambitions in Samantha Hastings’ Victorian YA romance.
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.
With all sorts of delightful Parent Trap-style identical twin hijinks, The Invention of Sophie Carter is the perfect light-and-sweet palate cleanser.
Sophie and Mariah could not be more unlike each other. Sophie is inventive, strong-willed, and fiery in nature while Mariah is quiet, creative in the arts, and empathetic to all those around her. Yet they both wish to be free of their past of hurt and neglect by people who were supposed to love them. As they work together and work around each other to fulfill their desires, they come across difficulties but also discover their strengths. I especially loved watching Mariah step outside her sister’s shadow as she realized she wanted to become her own independent person.
While the sister story is a huge focus in this book, the romance does not take a back seat (in fact, I felt Samantha did a great job of balancing both aspects of the novel). Each twin meets a man who complements them in a way that the twin does not, which made for some hilarious mix-ups among the couples. I loved Ethan’s support of Sophie’s passions, and I appreciated Charles’s patience and interest with Mariah, as well as how he struggled to realize what he wanted in life.
Not only are the main characters and their love interests fleshed out, but the more minor ones are as well. The twins’ long-lost aunt has her own motivations that seem unclear at first are revealed later on. The female competition doesn’t lean into old stereotypes but becomes good friends with both of the twins.
The depth of the characterization is not the only thing going for this book. It’s also hilarious, with many laugh-out-loud moments as the twins try to dupe everyone into thinking they’re the same person. The author’s writing also immerses you quite well into 1850s London with excellent details, though with its fast pace, the book doesn’t take too long to dwell on particulars. It has the exact right amount of balance.
- There is an adorable slow-burn romance and I really loved it. Those two are perfect for each other.
- The climax is explosive—I liked how this book ended with a lot of pain, yet it was still uplifting and sweet.
Once I began this book, I couldn’t put it down! Frankly, The Invention of Sophie Carter is addicting in the best way. I can’t wait to read more of Samantha’s work.