This is a series that could have gone so wrong or so right depending on the execution. The Bronte sisters as detectives? I just wasn’t sure when I first heard about it. But I am also a huge fan of all things Bronte so I decided to read the first book anyway.
I am so glad I did, because I loved it! I worried that it would be hokey because the Bronte’s wrote romance rather than mystery so I just worried it wouldn’t translate well in this modern mashup of Brontes and murder. But it was great the first book was so fun and interesting that when the next book came up for review, it was an immediate yes for me.
I loved this one just as much as I loved the first book and I love seeing how the author has evolved and grown into her writing style and the characters have evolved right along with her! This was a fun quick read that I finished in a weekend!
“Move over, Jane Austen, for the latest literary ladies who snoop in this… lively series debut.”–Kirkus Reviews on The Vanished Bride
Haworth Parsonage, February 1846: The Bront� sisters– Anne, Emily, and Charlotte–are busy with their literary pursuits. As they query publishers for their poetry, each sister hopes to write a full-length novel that will thrill the reading public. They’re also hoping for a new case for their fledgling detecting enterprise, Bell Brothers and Company solicitors. On a bitterly cold February evening, their housekeeper Tabby tells them of a grim discovery at Scar Top House, an old farmhouse belonging to the Bradshaw family. A set of bones has been found bricked up in a chimney breast inside the ancient home.
Tabby says it’s bad doings, and dark omens for all of them. The rattled housekeeper gives them a warning, telling the sisters of a chilling rumor attached to the family. The villagers believe that, on the verge of bankruptcy, Clifton Bradshaw sold his soul to the devil in return for great riches. Does this have anything to do with the bones found in the Bradshaw house? The sisters are intrigued by the story and feel compelled to investigate. But Anne, Emily, and Charlotte soon learn that true evil has set a murderous trap and they’ve been lured right into it (summary from Goodreads)
One of the things I have loved about this series so far is that each sister is unique and has their own ‘voice’ in the story. I have read both Charlotte and Emily Bronte but never Anne and I loved getting to know each sister and their personalities in a unique way. Even if it’s fictional, I felt that each sister was independent from the ‘Bronte Team’ if that makes sense. Taking on such classic writers as the Bronte’s can’t have been easy but the author does a fantastic job giving the characters life and interesting quirks that readers will enjoy whether they have read some, all, or none of the Bronte books.
This mystery was much more chilling that I was expecting. I mean the first book has a great mystery and it kept me guessing, but this one was much darker and more macabre than I was expecting but I loved it all the same. It kept me guessing throughout much of the story and I loved watching the sisters (and sometimes their brother) solve the mystery and decipher the clues.
For me it was a quick and suspenseful read with lots of red herrings to keep reader on their toes. There were also little Bronte Easter Eggs so fans of the Brontes will appreciate those little hints or nods to their classic literary works! I should also point out that I think this one could easily be read as a standalone. The author does a great job giving the reader all the necessary background for the character and context to keep new readers orientated and she doesn’t give anything away if readers want to go back and read the first book. I don’t know if she will continue that method as the series grows etc but I thought this would be fine as a standalone so if you are debating about reading this one, then don’t worry about diving in!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: February 16th 2021 by Berkley Books
ISBN059309915X (ISBN13: 9780593099155)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: detective novel, mystery, historical fiction