Publication: 9th February 2023 – Hodder & Stoughton
Haworth 1847 – Anne and Emily Brontë have had their books accepted for publication, while Charlotte’s has been rejected everywhere, creating a strained atmosphere at the parsonage.
At the same time, a shocking court case has recently concluded, acquitting a workhouse master of murdering his wife by poison. Everyone thinks this famously odious and abusive man is guilty. However, he insists he is many bad things but not a murderer. When an attempt is made on his life, he believes it to be the same person who killed his wife and applies to the detecting sisters for their help.
Despite reservations, they decide that perhaps, as before, it is only they who can get to the truth and prove him innocent – or guilty – without a shadow of doubt.
A Gift of Poison is the fourth and last book in this gripping series that features Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Brontë as they mix their lives as debut authors and detectives of mysteries.
It is set in 1847. Anne and Emily’s novels, Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights, are about to be published and they are busy editing their manuscripts. On the other hand, Charlotte’s novel, The Professor, has been rejected by publishers and she tries to not feel jealous about her sisters’ success by being excited for the imminent visit of her friend Ellen Nussey.
The Brontë sisters think they have left their detecting days behind, but someone blackmails them into one last investigation. Everyone in Haworth knows that Abner Lowood is responsible for the death of his wife and children, but he’s been acquitted. Now, he claims that someone has tried to poison him and he wants the sisters to investigate and clear his name or he will reveal everyone about their detecting adventures. With the aid of their friend Ellen, they start their investigation that it turns to the supernatural when there is talk of dead coming back to life.
I am sorry that this is the last book in the series as I have really enjoyed seeing these three fantastic authors coming to life not only as authors, but also detectives. The supernatural elements perfectly mix with the mystery and the suspense kept me on edge. It is thrilling and twisty and it took me often by surprise.
Anne, Charlotte, and Emily are well-portrayed. The story is set a few months before the death of their brother Branwell, whose mental health is now deteriorating fast, and the sisters are aware that the end is now close. Emily and Anne are about to publish their novels, while Jane Eyre is taking form in Charlotte’s mind. We also glimpse the beginning of the courtship of Arthur Nicholls towards Charlotte and her initial rejections.
Well-written and well-researched, A Gift of Poison is immersive and evocative and the perfect ending to this fantastic series.
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.
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.