Thursday 5 November 2020

The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis @brontemysteries @HodderBooks BLOG TOUR #TheDiabolicalBones #BronteMysteries


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

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte 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. . .

The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis is published on 5 November 2020, in hardback, by Hodder & Stoughton and is the second book in The Bronte Mysteries.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, for this Blog Tour.

I read and reviewed the first book in The Bronte Mysteries; The Vanished Bride, in November last year. I loved that first book and really didn't think it could be bettered. I was wrong, I adored The Diabolical Bones - every single beautiful word of it. This author's absolute passion for the Brontes, and Haworth shines though in this novel, it is absolute escapism and perfect for the troubled times that we find ourselves in.

The novel opens in April 1852 as Charlotte Bronte reflects upon her surroundings; the beauty of Haworth and the surrounding moors. She also thinks lovingly of her siblings and it's a poignant and reflective narrative. Charlotte looks over at Top Withens. a large house on the outskirts of the village and thinks back to what happened there in December 1845.

The reader is then taken to that cold, harsh winter on the Yorkshire Moors. Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte are waiting to hear if their poetry has been accepted for publication. Their brother Branwell is still drowning his sorrows, aided by various other substances and is morose and solitary. Their father is almost blind now but is still respected and is still the Parson of Haworth.

The sisters are not only talented, if undiscovered authors, they've also shown that they are clever detectives, having been involved in solving the mystery of a disappearing woman. When they hear that the remains of a small child has been discovered in a bricked-up chimney over at Top Withens and master of the house, Clifton Bradshaw is refusing to allow a religious burial, the sisters are determined to act. 

What follows is a wonderfully written story of intrigue and mystery, that uncovers dark secrets that have been well hidden for many years. This is not a 'cosy' crime mystery by any means. The author deals with issues of the day that are still relevant in 2020. The discrimination against 'incomers', in this case, the Irish; the ill treatment of youngsters in the workplace, poverty and substance abuse.

What makes this novel really stand out, and makes it so special is the absolute sense of place. Taking place during a bitterly cold, snowy December, the reader is transported to the snow covered moors, I was chilled to bone whilst reading it. 

Whilst Ellis' characters are not of her own creation, she has expanded them and given them distinct and vibrant personalities. Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell are individually perfect and as a team they are incredibly strong. 

The Diabolical Bones is a lively, well-written mystery, filled with wit and wisdom and intrigue. It is an absolute delight to read. Bella Ellis is an incredible talent. Bring on book three! 

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, as well as the co-author of Mirror, Mirror, the debut novel by actor and model Cara Delevingne. 

Bella Ellis lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and five children.

Twitter @brontemysteries

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