The Vanished Bride: The Brontë Mysteries

Written by Bella Ellis
Review by Lisa Redmond

The Vanished Bride is the first of a new series, The Brontë Mysteries, written by Bella Ellis; a new Brontë-inspired pen name for bestselling contemporary fiction author Rowan Coleman. The plot revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a young woman not far from the village of Haworth, where the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, are back home once more after working and studying abroad. Charlotte’s old friend, Matilda French, is working as a governess at Chester Grange when her mistress disappears, leaving behind no clue to her whereabouts except a mattress soaked in blood. The sisters, aided by their brother Branwell, set about investigating, making some shocking revelations.

This is an intriguing mystery which explores women’s lack of power in Victorian Britain and the frustrations that all the women involved feel about these restrictions. The book is peopled with characters from all walks of life, from violent country squires to quiet country curates, mouthy urchins, and mysterious gypsies. The landscape both industrial and rural is beautifully evoked, and the characters of each of the Brontë siblings is brilliantly explored and brought to life by Ellis’s fantastic storytelling, with a plot that rattles along. A thoroughly enjoyable tale, tinged with gothic drama, and an ideal read for fans of Daphne du Maurier and of course the Brontës themselves.