Publication: 5th November 2020 – Hodder & Stoughton
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…
Delighted to welcome you on my stop for the blog tour of The Diabolical Bones, the terrific new novel by Bella Ellis.
After reading The Vanished Bride last year, I was delighted to find out there was another book coming out. The Diabolical Bones is the second novel in the Brontë mysteries series. I really enjoy reading this series in which the three famous sisters, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte, sometimes with the help of their brother Branwell, turn into detectives, solving mysteries in the village of Haworth, in Yorkshire.
It is 1845, right before Christmas. In a locked room in Top Withens Hall, the bones of a child are found. The owner of the house, Clifton Bradshaw, swears not to know who the child is and who hid the bones and he is also refusing to bury the remains. The Brontë sisters, who are waiting to know if their poetry will be published, are determined to find out the truth and start investigating.
The story is told from the points of views of the three sisters. Each sister has her own distinctive personality. They work well both together and alone and, even though they are a work of fiction, the author’s research into their lives is clear and extensive. I couldn’t tell you who my favourite sister is, I like them all in equal measure, but I admit that I have a soft spot for Branwell.
The Brontë family members are not the only protagonists of the story. Under the author’s pen, the Yorkshire Moors come to life. Covered in snow, bleak, cold, they are the perfect setting to this dark and thrilling story:
“The day was grey, and snow fell like ash, heavy and suffocating. No matter how she tried to rally her spirits, Charlotte could not escape the great sense of unease that continued to follow her at every moment, as if disaster was looming around each corner. The renewed snowfall only added to the sensation that they were cut off from the world entirely, a little island of isolation far way from the world of logic and reason. Here the old spirits still walked the moors after dark.”
The author masterfully mixes fiction with historical facts. The mystery investigated by the sisters brings to light a reality that was common at their time: poverty, child labour, the conditions of orphanages, racism, and discrimination.
I also would like to mention the beautifully designed jacket and cover and the gorgeous map inside the book that I couldn’t stop looking at over and over again. The Diabolical Bones is a gripping, intriguing, and immersive story and I can’t wait to read whatever comes next.
A huge thank you to Steven and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a beautiful copy of the book.
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.