Tag Archives: Bronte

#BookReview ‘The Vanished Bride’ by Bella Ellis @brontemysteries #crime

Yorkshire, 1845. A woman disappears overnight from her home. Her husband is distraught. All that remains of her is copious amounts of blood on the bed. The local police are inept. This is the first mystery in a series of new amateur sleuths, the three Bronte sisters, in The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis. Bella Ellis

I loved this book from the beginning. Bronte fans will love it but anyone new to Bronte will find it an engaging introduction to the three clever and inspirational sisters. What a fresh idea to involve Charlotte, Emily and Anne in an occupation that suits their imaginations, attention to detail and energy. Anne says, ‘It is truly terrible that I am a little thrilled to think of us as three invisible lady detectors seeking out the truth? I believe we could be quite the only such creatures in all existence.’

Their characters are clearly drawn and their engagements with other characters – brother Branwell, father Patrick, cook Tabby and maid Martha – are all convincing. The case of the vanished bride comes to their attention because the governess to the two small children of the missing woman is none other than Matilda French, a former schoolfriend of Charlotte and Emily at Cowan Bridge school.

As they track down clues and bravely confront strangers to ask questions, the three sisters must learn to manage the wilder leaps of their imagination and use judgement to analyse clues, sifting, comparing, discarding. At first their naivety while charming, is a problem, as they tend to believe everything they hear. But they soon wise up to the disreputable agendas of others and become adept at setting trick questions, analysing body language, and basically not believing everything they are told. Stepping outside their comfort zone at Haworth, they venture into worlds not usually frequented alone by unmarried women. Though obviously a fictional not historical account, it is an interesting picture of the real world limitations they faced.

Owing not a little to the gothic, their detecting involves folklore and supernatural elements, a wonderful journey to the seaside at Scarborough to find a witness, and thrilling night time excursions involving a little breaking and entering. Throughout it all, their clergyman father is ignorant of their ‘detecting’ and the risks they take, and they become adept at soothing his concerns at their odd behaviour.

Author Ellis [aka novelist Rowan Coleman] has been a Bronte fan since childhood and this is demonstrated in her knowledge of character, setting and historical context. In the Author’s Note, she explains her choice of August 1845 for this first novel. Charlotte has returned home from Brussels to join Emily while Branwell and Anne are home again from employment at Thorp Grange. It is the first time for several months the four are under the same roof. The characters, the settings, are pure Bronte; the detective story is Ellis’s own.

To set the timing of The Vanished Bride within the context of the Brontes’ real life, it takes place a year before their first publication – of Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell – in 1846. In 1847, Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, Emily’s Wuthering Heights, and Anne’s Agnes Grey, were published.

Excellent, one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year.

If you like this, try:-
The Girl at the Window’ by Rowan Coleman
Yuki Chan in Bronte Country’ by Mick Jackson
A Snapshot of Murder’ by Frances Brody 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE VANISHED BRIDE by Bella Ellis @brontemysteries #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4uY via @SandraDanby

My Porridge & Cream read… Jessie Cahalin @BooksInHandbag #books

Today I’m delighted to welcome romance novelist Jessie Cahalin. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Wuthering Heights appeared in my life when I was eleven years old in 1983.  Following my English teacher’s recommendation, I saved pocket money to buy the novel.

‘The air made me shiver through every limb’ as I entered Heathcliff’s kitchen and lost myself in the language. This was my first taste of one of ‘the important authors’ and she was a Yorkshire lass to boot. I still remember the picture of the withering tree on the front cover and the delicious new smell of the fine pages.

Jessie Cahalin

Jessie’s vintage copy

“The tiny writing meant I had to concentrate and there were delicious new words to savour. Even then, the rhythms of the language and the powerful setting captured me, and I read them aloud. I stood on t’top of t’world with my new book.

Bronte inspired me to enjoy the power of words, and I would spend hours painting my own scenes with language. I marked pages in Wuthering Heights and would re-read them constantly. My parents took me to Howarth to visit the parsonage, and I knew Jessie had gone home.

Wuthering Heights was my trusty companion on the train when I departed from Yorkshire to commence my first teaching job down south. Can you imagine my delight when I was asked to teach Wuthering Heights to my first A Level class? I passed on my joy of Bronte to some of the students who read English in Leeds and York.

I have not managed to return to live in Yorkshire, so I still read Bronte to get my fix of the rugged landscape. Alas, my original copy gave up the ghost a long time ago. I have the book on my kindle, which is always at hand in my handbag.”

Jessie Cahalin

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Penguin Clothbound Classics


Jessie’s Bio
Jessie is a Yorkshire author living in Cardiff, Wales. Wales and words have a special place in her heart. She loves to entertain and challenge readers with her contemporary fiction and wants everyone to meet the characters who’ve been hassling her for years. Set in Wales, You Can’t Go It Alone is ‘a novel with a warm heart’ and is the first book in a family saga. Jessie is also the innovator of the popular ‘Books in Handbag’ Blog. Besides writing, Jessie adores walking, talking, cooking and procrastinating. Walking helps her to sort out tangles in her narratives or articles. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give her inspiration.

Jessie’s links

Jessie’s latest book
Jessie CahalinCan’t Go It Alone… Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative. Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships. The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn. Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts

What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message.

Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Rhoda Baxter’s choice is ‘The Night Watch’ by Terry Pratchett
Chantelle Atkins chooses ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by JD Salinger
Camellia’ by Lesley Pearse is chosen by Helen J Christmas

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does Jessie Cahalin @BooksInHandbag re-read WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4t7 via @SandraDanby