Published: November 18th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery, Books Series
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the mesmerising and addictive The Red Monarch. Thank you to Steven at Hodder Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.
The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson.
Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life.
In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.
“I am a bad man, Miss Bronte —the worst of them —but the Red Monarch is the devil himself.”
The Bronte Mysteries and the escapades of the feisty and determined Bronte sisters are now a highlight of my autumn. The third book in this series, The Red Monarch, is another addictive, enthralling and witty novel that follows Charlotte, Emily and Anne in their alternative existence as lady detectors.
This time they have come to London to help Lydia Roxby, one of Anne’s former pupils, who was awoken a few nights ago by a gang of vicious thugs who took her husband Harry and demanded that she find and return their lost jewel within seven days or they would both be killed. With little to go on, it looks like an impossible task. But they soon make alliances with a couple of locals that lead them to the gang they are looking for.
But they aren’t the only ones they need to fear. The sisters soon discover there is a much greater terror that looms over London: the Red Monarch. A man so evil that even the thugs fear him. A man whose name they dare not speak. Can the sisters find this illusive devil and save Harry and Lydia before it’s too late?
“As it happens, my sisters and I have found that even though we are but weak and feeble women, we can do most things that must be done entirely ourselves without the slightest bit of aid from any gentleman.”
Bella Ellis has done it again. As soon as I began reading I was enveloped in a sense of comfort that felt like a warm hug, the familiar writing, place and characters making me feel like I was coming home. Luscious prose and evocative imagery come together to create an atmospheric and vivid read that transports me back in time and makes me feel like I am there beside them as they do their detecting. It is so well written that I find myself completely caught up in the story and forgetting that they weren’t actually lady detectors. Though I wish they had been.
The Brontes are the embodiment of the Yorkshire Moors so it was fascinating to see them out of their comfort zone and in the bleak, grimy streets of London this time around. I enjoyed seeing how they reacted to a different environment and being away from people who know them. It’s easy for us to forget how isolated even the most educated and well-read people would have been in somewhere such as Haworth at that time and how frightening a place like London would have been. We are so used to knowing about the most far flung corners of the world and seeing its wonders online or on TV that it is hard to imagine the impact travelling must have had on people back then.
“Sir, if decent people never take a stand against encroaching dark, then soon the entire world will live in constant terror.”
These three ladies now hold a piece of my heart and I feel like this series has given me a greater appreciation for who they really were and the ways they broke the mould. Though their escapades are fiction, their characters and other events in their lives are based in fact, allowing us to really get to the heart of who they are. Without this series I don’t think I’d have that knowledge or the passion it has sparked for them in my bookish heart. So I am forever thankful to Ms. Ellis for her genius in creating this series.
An addictive and mesmerising mystery, this was a joy to read from beginning to end. I just wish I didn’t have to wait a year for the next installment. And, as I’ve said before, it is just crying out to be adapted for TV. BBC and Netflix: where are you?
If you haven’t tried this series yet, then you are missing out. What are you waiting for? Read it now!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Bella Ellis is the Bronte inspired pen name for the award winning, Sunday Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman. A Bronte devotee for most of her life, Rowan is the author of fourteen novels including The Memory Book, The Summer of Impossible Things and The Girl at the Window.
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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx