The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte

Written by Laura Joh Rowland
Review by Viviane Crystal

Three talented, young sisters are forced to publish under a male pseudonym in Victorian England. Fearing exposure after an accusation of plagiarism, Charlotte and Emily Brontë are traveling to London to solve the problem and perhaps risk public exposure of their true identities. Neither is prepared to cope with the secret maze of crime and evil they experience almost immediately after meeting an almost paranoid fellow traveler, Isabel White. By chance the Brontë sisters actually see Isabel White killed, a horrific crime that initially shakes their sheltered, puritanical world to pieces. But feisty Charlotte, after receiving a secret package from the murdered victim, is determined to solve the mystery.

Charlotte discovers that Isabel’s mother had no idea of her daughter’s strange liaisons with the aristocracy. Add to that the mystery of an inquiring, handsome brother of the victim and her exposure of his secret, and you have the opening setting for a potboiler Victorian mystery in the mid-1800s that spans the world to faraway China. Avoiding an imminent sibling quarrel with Charlotte, Anne and Emily agree to play their fearless part in solving this awful murder that has now put them in formidable danger.

The author describes the sordid city streets of London and just as skillfully conveys the frightening, explosive atmosphere of a torn Chinese empire wanting Western prosperity while desperately trying to maintain its traditional, pure identity. Laura Joh Rowland’s exemplary skills as a mystery writer again thrill readers as we watch this meek, naïve, romantic, idealistic but also incomparably bold character fulfill her quest for justice. The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Brontë is a superb read that you won’t be able to put down once you’ve entered its pages. Wonderful!