Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…
Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters–the Brontë sisters–learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.
These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines–it’s seeing what is not there.”
As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…
In the Vanished Bride, Bella Ellis brings together the beloved Brontë sisters in a murder mystery full of twists and turns which will be sure to captivate and charm readers.
The novel is told through the perspectives of Charlotte, Anne and Emily as they try and figure out the truth behind the mysterious and sinister disappearance of young Elizabeth Chester who disappears one night, all thats left behind is a pool of blood. It’s up to the Brontës to find all the clues and uncover the secrets of Chester Grange and its inhabitants.
I loved the way each of the sisters was brought to life within the novel, each so distinct and personable. Charlotte is the romantic of the three, who is nursing a broken heart after indulging in a forbidden romance. Emily is the strong willed sister who is logical and follows the clues no matter where they lead. Anne is the youngest but she is not be under estimated, she is every bit as smart as her sisters and brave to boot, she takes on the role of investigating inside Chester Grange regardless of the dangers that lurk inside.
As well as the characterisations themselves, I really enjoyed reading how the mystery unravelled and how the smallest clues were decoded and contributed to the mystery as a whole. As the story progresses, the case goes from a puzzling disappearance to a dark and twisted story of buried family secrets. While you have to suspend your disbelief at certain points when the sisters are investigating, it’s still an entertaining read and I thought all the pieces fit together brilliantly.
I also loved that certain elements of Ellis own story, were connected to the Brontë’s other work. Ellis provides a fictional inspiration or explanation for characters and names that appear in Wuthering Heights for example or Jane Eyre and it was so great to see how she weaved these in. It was fun to think about where these ideas could have come from and Ellis exploration of the Brontë’s as detectors is one of the best I’ve seen for sure. I love these little details that were sprinkled within the story and they definitely furthered my enjoyment of the novel.
Overall, The Vanished Bride is a really enjoyable and impressive mystery / thriller with a charming setting and three loveable main characters. Nobody can tell what the Brontë sisters reactions would be to this tale but it has all the best elements from their works so I’m sure they’d approve.
Until next time,