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Enola Holmes: A Character Created by a Gettysburg Alumna

Enola Holmes is a name that has received large amounts of traction these past few years due to the recent Netflix films. Millie Bobby Brown stars as the headstrong and determined female protagonist, and as producer for the film series. Other notable actors included in the films are Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, and Louis Partridge. Over the first four weeks of its release, Enola Holmes received an estimated 76 million household views. The movie’s sequel, Enola Holmes 2, was only just released on November 4, 2022, yet it is expected to become another smash hit for Netflix. How did this phenomenon come to be? It all started with Gettysburg graduate Nancy Connor Springer ’70.

Springer spoke to Gettysburg College in 2021 about turning her book into a movie and detailed the process that this entailed. Most importantly, she shared how she created the character of Enola Holmes and what makes a great mystery.

Netflix / YouTube

When asked to create something that was set in London around the time of Jack the Ripper, Springer realized that Sherlock Holmes fictitiously lived around that same time period. This gave her the idea for Enola Holmes, a name that immediately popped into her head. She would become the younger sister of famed detective Sherlock Holmes and quickly would develop her own detective skills that allowed her to run circles around her brother. Springer completed extensive research for the book series as it was her first historical novel, and she approached the series with a “technicolor” writing style. This meant that that images she sketched, colored, and journaled all helped to create the wonderful world of Enola Holmes.

I always find it fascinating to see what Gettysburg alumni can do in the world. As an English major with a writing concentration at Gettysburg College, I admire Springer’s books and what they have gone on to accomplish and represent. As a book lover, Springer’s series is everything I wanted when I was a young reader: a strong female protagonist, adventure, mystery, and a historic setting. It is so exciting to see what this Gettysburg alumna went on to accomplish, and this should only serve as motivation for Gettysburg students to continue in these footsteps (I’m certainly hoping that I can)!

The adventure and mystery included in Springer’s books are translated magically to the screen, and this was made possible partially due to Millie Bobby Brown’s own love for the book series. She has spoken about how she felt a close connection to Enola Holmes after reading the series, and that connection and similarity between herself and the character motivated her to create the movie adaptations. Her family’s production company, PCMA Productions, has produced both of the Enola Holmes films.

Netflix / YouTube

The films, like the books, are wonderfully crafted, and the cast makes it even more enjoyable. Millie Bobby Brown encompasses Enola and what she stands for brilliantly, and Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes remains exceptionally brilliant (although, maybe not as brilliant as his younger sister). A particular favorite character of mine within the movies has been Tewkesbury, played by Louis Partridge, and the banter we get between Enola and Tewkesbury is simply heartwarming. Their relationship develops beautifully in the second film, but don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything for you. It’s up to you to find out what happens! I am excited to see what a possible third movie could entail for the characters and what mystery Enola may find herself wrapped in. Perhaps it will be something dealing with a new friend of Sherlock’s? Let that be my hint to stay after the initial credits of the second film…

It’s amazing to see a Gettysburg alumna making waves in Hollywood and helping to expand the Enola Holmes universe. The character, who was already beloved by so many from the book series, is gaining a massive following and serving as a reminder to stand up for what you believe. Make sure to read the books and watch both Enola Holmes and Enola Holmes 2 now on Netflix!

Laken Franchetti

Gettysburg '24

Laken is a junior at Gettysburg College dual majoring in English with a writing concentration and history. Besides acting as Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus, she is involved with the on-campus newspaper, The Gettysburgian, where she serves as News Editor. In her spare time, Laken can be found reading, listening to music, and watching Marvel movies.
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