Sunday 22 November 2020

The Vanished Bride (The Brontë Mysteries) - Bella Ellis


Yorkshire, 1845. Dark rumours are spreading across the moors. Everything indicates that Mrs Elizabeth Chester of Chester Grange has been brutally murdered in her home - but nobody can find her body.

As the dark murmurs reach Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, the sisters are horrified, yet intrigued. Before they know it, the siblings become embroiled in the quest to find the vanished bride, sparking their imaginations but placing their lives at great peril . . .

What did I think?

This is one book where you can be forgiven for judging a book by its cover; it's just so perfect and I have to say that with the gold foiling and the Brontë silhouettes, this has to be one of the most beautiful book jackets I have ever seen.  I bought the hardback that even looks beautiful without the jacket, with gold foiling on a rich purple cloth cover.  The appearance fits the content of the book perfectly and I loved every single thing about The Vanished Bride.

Like many readers, I have read a novel written by each of the Brontë sisters: Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  Other than knowing that they lived in Haworth, Yorkshire and their father was the local vicar, I know very little about the Brontës but thanks to Bella Ellis I fell like I know them a lot better now.  Using well researched facts, I love the way that Bella Ellis has brought the sisters to life and created characters that are entirely believable.  It's also rather poignant to read Charlotte's prologue set in 1851 when she is the last remaining Brontë sibling, but Bella Ellis rolls back the clock to 1845 to make The Vanished Bride an absolutely wonderful tribute to the Brontës.

Having the Brontë sisters as main characters takes the book from brilliant to out of this world.  The sisters turn into amateur detectives when a young bride disappears from Chester Grange and Charlotte sees a way to wangle her way into the house via an old friend of hers who is the children's nanny.  It's a fine line between inquisitiveness and nosiness and it wouldn't be the first time that the sisters were referred to as 'nosy spinsters' which I found quite amusing.

I was so charmed and consumed by the Brontë sisters that the mystery of 'The Vanished Bride' herself seemed almost secondary to me.  It's a jolly good mystery and hugely entertaining in its own right and I loved the way that the sisters used their imaginative brains to carry out their detecting.  It's set in mid-19th century so it's very much a man's world but that doesn't stop the Brontës.  

I absolutely loved The Vanished Bride and Bella Ellis's admiration of the Brontë sisters shines through from start to finish.  It's such a delightful, clever, charming and compelling novel filled with Brontë intellect and finesse.  Highly recommended.

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A lovely cup of Earl Grey tea is the perfect accompaniment to The Vanished Bride and Leafy Bean Company have created an amazing blend with their Duke of Earl Grey tea.  I received a box of teabags to review and I have to say that it is the best Earl Grey blend I have ever tasted.  You can read my full review of the tea HERE but do visit Leafy Bean Company by clicking HERE to see their fabulous range of black, green, rooibos and herbal teas.

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