When Elizabeth Chester goes missing, she leaves behind a room covered in blood. The news falls on the ears of the BrontΓ« sisters, who are both intrigued by the mystery and concerned for the fate of the woman. With no one else finding answers, they become lady detectors with the hope of finding the truth.

Is it truly terrible that I am a little thrilled to think of us as three invisible lady detectors seeking out the truth? I believe we could be quite the only such creatures in all existence.

This was charming! The Vanished Bride is set before any of the BrontΓ« sisters have had books published and they are keenly aware that they need to find a way to support themselves financially. However they don’t open a detective agency or anything so far out, they just start on a mission to seek out the truth for their friend who works as governess for the victim. As parson’s daughters they are unassuming and can often gain the trust of women or notice details where the police are lacking.

Of course, it is set in a time where policing is minimal. Emily reads about the progress in the Metropolitan Police in the newspaper and is taken with the idea of being a lady detector. Emily’s the most high-spirited of the women, with a wild imagination and most likely to blurt out questions that the others would try and be tactful about.

Emily recalled all too vividly how women such as they had precious little defence against the cruelty of the world, and she saw the same thought returned a hundred times in her sisters’ expressions of quiet determination.

Branwell made me laugh, he’s the one put in charge of his sisters for the sole reason that he’s male, but he’s the least responsible of them all. He is not unkind, but he thinks highly of himself yet has a problem with drinking, gambling and general cavorting.

The historical details of what their lives were like are incorporated without seeming forced. Obviously they are fictionalised but a lot has been documented about the family and you get the feeling this is a work full of fondness for the sisters.

Bella Ellis is a pseudonym for Rowan Coleman. A second instalment, The Diabolical Bones, is due later this year and I will definitely be adding it my TBR.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 12. A book that passes the Bechdel test

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Book Source: Purchased