#BookReview: THE RED MONARCH by Bella Ellis @brontemysteries @rowancoleman @HodderBooks

Publication: 18th November 2021 – Hodder & Stoughton

The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson.

Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life.

In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.

AMAZON

WATERSTONES

I was delighted when I found out that there would have been a third book in the Brontë Sisters Mystery series. I really enjoy this series and The Red Monarch didn’t disappoint.

The story starts when pregnant Lydia Roxby (née Robinson) wakes up to find men in her bedroom who kidnap her husband and tell her that she has a week to give them back the jewel her husband stole or they will both die. Desperate and alone, Lydia contacts the only person she knows that could help her, Anne Brontë.

In Yorkshire, Charlotte, Anne, and Emily are waiting to hear what critics think of their writing, while they worry about their brother Branwell, who is heartbroken over his affair with Lydia’s mother. So, when Lydia’s letter arrives asking for help, the three sisters decide to travel to London and help her, followed by their brother Branwell. The Brontë siblings quickly find out that London is very far from the quiet moors of Yorkshire. There is noise and danger everywhere, but the three sisters are not deterred and they will do anything to help Lydia and her husband.

In The Red Monarch, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne probably face their most difficult and challenging investigation which involves dangerous and armed men, subterfuge, and kidnapping. Because they are women in Victorian London they are underestimated, but they quickly prove that they are independent, strong-willed, and determined women who won’t stop until they manage to help those in need and they walk through the slums of London with their chin high and, in some cases, a pistol in their pockets.

The author kept me glued to the pages not only with her addictive writing, but also with the rising suspense, the unexpected twists, and the accurate and interesting historical facts. The Red Monarch is a thrilling, suspenseful, and gripping historical mystery featuring three fantastic authors-turned-detectives that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I am already looking forward to the next installment!

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

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