Book Reviews - Sarah

(ARC) The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

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…

What if, before they authored some of the greatest works of fiction of all time, the Brontë sisters were intrepid detectives? Bella Ellis answers that question for us in The Vanished Bride, bringing us into the world of the Brontë sisters and showing us a side of them we may never have otherwise seen. 

The Vanished Bride follows Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Brontë as they investigate the case of a young wife and mother who has gone missing from her bedchamber, leaving an alarming amount of blood and a suspicious husband in her wake. 

The story switches between Emily, Charlotte, and Anne’s perspective, giving us a great glimpse into the mind of each sister. Ellis does a great job capturing each sister’s voice. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Charlotte, I adored Emily. 

“Although Emily had never before broken into the manor house of a suspected murderer in the dead of night, it didn’t occur to her once that this wasn’t something she wouldn’t be perfectly good at.” 

Emily’s dauntlessness and unending sense of imagination made her the most entertaining and lovable character by far. 

The mystery is also well crafted. I thought I had figured it out and found myself genuinely surprised by the plot twist at the end. I’ll admit that it took me a while to get into this story. I didn’t feel particularly gripped or invested in the mystery at first and felt like it took a while for Ellis to build a sense of intrigue. The final act of the book, however, made it worth it for me. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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