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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Red Monarch by Bella Ellis (Bronte Mysteries Book 3)

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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.

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SYNOPSIS:

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.

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MY REVIEW:

“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!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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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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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis

Published: November 5th, 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Mystery, Biographical Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this mesmerising novel. Thank you to Steve at Hodder Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

It’s Christmas 1845 and Haworth is in the grip of a freezing winter.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are rather losing interest in detecting until they hear of a shocking discovery: the bones of a child have been found interred within the walls of a local house, Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous and brutish Bradshaw family.

When the sisters set off to find out more, they are confronted with an increasingly complex and sinister case, which leads them into the dark world of orphanages, and onto the trail of other lost, and likely murdered children. After another local boy goes missing, Charlotte, Emily and Anne vow to find him before it’s too late.

But in order to do so, they must face their most despicable and wicked adversary yet – one that would not hesitate to cause them the gravest of harm. . .

MY REVIEW:

“They had awoken a monster.”

Atmospheric, haunting luscious and exquisitely gothic, this was everything I dreamed it would be and more. The first installment of the Bronte Mysteries was one of my favourite books of 2019 and the second installment is one of my most highly anticipated books of this year. I had high hopes, which the author didn’t just meet, she completely smashed them, crafting an even better novel than its predecessor.

Once again the book opens with Charlotte, now the only remaining Bronte child, looking back at life when her siblings were still alive. This time she remembers a particularly sinister case back in December 1845.

A child’s bones are discovered interred within the chimney of a room that has been locked up for thirteen years at Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous Bradshaw family. When they hear of the discovery, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte’s interest in detecting is renewed and they set out to investigate, unprepared for the dark and murky secrets they are about to uncover.

This was a book that delighted my soul, transporting me back to Victorian Yorkshire and immersing me in the sister’s world. The author seamlessly merges fact with fiction to craft a richly drawn story full of memorable characters, vivid imagery and gloriously gothic mystery. I struggled to put this one down, fighting against my need to sleep as I desperately tried to keep reading and get to the end in one sitting. My mind was a whirl of questions. And though my prediction turned out to be correct, I was still shocked by the revelations that were unveiled and on the edge of my seat as I approached the conclusion.

Mesmerising, eerie and surprising, The Diabolical Bones is a magnificent novel and an absolute must read for anyone who enjoys gothic or historical fiction or a good mystery. Creating a series where the famous Bronte sisters are also detectors is pure genius, and Bella Ellis executes it to perfection. It is just crying out to become a TV show. BBC; are you listening?

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Bella Ellis is the Brontë-esque pseudonym of an acclaimed author of numerous novels for adults and children. She first visited the former home of the Brontë sisters when she was ten years old. From the moment she stepped over the threshold she was hooked, and she embarked on a lifelong love affair with Charlotte, Emily, and Anne; their life; their literature; and their remarkable legacy.

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BUY THE BOOK:

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Blog Tours book reviews

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this breathtaking novel. Thank you to Steven at Hodder & Stoughton for the invitation to take part and for my gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

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 Bronte sisters — learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance. 

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly 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 in great peril.

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MY REVIEW:

From the words of Haworth Parsonage, December, 1851, I was transported back in time into the world of Victorian Yorkshire and the escapades of the three infamous Bronte sisters. Steeped in mystery and gothic ambience, this luminous novel was one of the highlights of my reading year. 

A gruesome discovery of a bedroom covered in blood, a missing woman feared murdered and a maid left traumatised are the chilling start to the story giving an immediate air or horror and mystery.  We then go back to Haworth where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte are all living back at the parsonage for the first time in years. They live a quiet life and spend their time together writing stories and poems and reading. Which is exactly what they’re doing when their brother Branwell bursts in telling them about the disappearance and probable murder just a few miles away. The sisters are horrified, yet also intrigued, and after visiting the scene they decide to become “lady detectors”. The will use their intellect and imagination to discover the fate of Elizabeth Chester, second wife of Robert and mother of two young sons.

Their investigations take them far afield and place them in danger but the sisters feel it is their Christian duty to find answers, plus they’re also really enjoying themselves. The sisters’ very different personalities and strengths assist them in their investigation, calling on the assistance of their errant brother Branwell when needed. There are an array of suspects but they follow the clues they seem to find more questions rather than answers, making them wonder if they will ever learn the fate of Elizabeth Chester. But startling and salacious revelations begin to emerge, and the astonishing truth is finally unveiled…

This novel made my heart sing. As soon as I heard about it I knew was one I had to read. A mix of my favourite genres by one of my favourite authors? It sounded like a dream come true. And it was. It is an original look at three of our most famous writers and I delighted in every moment. The author’s love and extensive knowledge of the Brontes radiated from every page and I particularly loved how she included nods to their future stories and fame in their conversations. Her ability to bring Howarth and the moors to life with her vivid imagery made me feel like I was walking on those bleak windswept hills with the sisters. 

I enjoyed reading a Victorian era detective story with female leads. It was a time when women are still considered the property of men and to be lesser beings. They were not encouraged to think and a meek, silent woman who existed almost invisibly was the ideal. This is both a help and hindrance in their detecting as while they are able to go virtually unnoticed, they are also met with opposition, usually men, and found people unwilling to talk with meer women. The sisters are strong, lively, intelligent, enterprising and visionary which makes them ideal for a job that is new and visionary in itself. The sisters each narrated the story allowing us to get to know them as individuals rather than simply being just one of the Bronte sisters and also offered a glimpse into their family dynamic.

The Vanished Bride is a creative, mysterious, witty, compelling and glorious tale. The author writes with elegant prose that is bathed in history and atmosphere, kept me guessing from start to finish and delivered surprises at every turn. I have fallen in love with the Bronte sisters as detector and hope that this is the start of a long running series. 

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bella Ellis is the Brontë inspired pen name for the award winning, Sunday Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman. A Brontë 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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