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The Diabolical Bones

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Member Reviews

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Diabolical Bones’ by Bella Ellis in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second in Ellis’ series of historical mysteries featuring the Brontë sisters undertaking some amateur detecting. While I haven’t yet read ‘The Vanished Bride’, this didn’t prove a problem.

It is Christmas 1845 and Haworth is in the grip of a freezing winter. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are losing interest in detecting until they hear of a shocking discovery: the bones of a child have been found interred within the walls of a local house, Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous and brutish Bradshaw family. 

So the plucky sisters decide not only to arrange a Christian burial for the child but to discover how he came to be interred there. What follows is an increasingly complex and sinister case. 

I am not that familiar with the lives of the Brontë
sisters and their brother, Branwell, yet others with more knowledge have praised Ellis for her research and faithfulness to the details of their lives. Still I was able to recognise that she had created a believable setting that included the etiquette and sensibilities of the period and also incorporated various social issues into the narrative. 

Also, the story progresses at a pace that is in keeping with its period setting and I quickly found myself transported to the wintery moors alongside the sisters.

I enjoyed this Gothic whodunnit very much and will be looking forward to future cases for the Brontës as well as catching up on the first in the series.

Highly recommended.
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I loved the first book and now I love this more! It's a gothic mystery, that's really fun to read. Gripping and perfect for the time of the year. Highly recommended.
Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
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I love The Vanished Bride and I loved this story.
It's even better than the first one, a gothic mystery that kept me hooked and guessing.
The character development is excellent and I loved the dialogues, witty and realistic.
The mystery is solid, full of twists and turns.
I loved every moment of this book and can't wait to read the next.
Highly entertaining and gripping, it's strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I was a huge fan of the first book in this series so I was incredibly excited to read the next installment. Once again the author has written an intriguing and absorbing read which will be great to curl up with on a cold night.

Firstly I know from social media that this author is a huge fan of the Brontë Sisters and this is very much in evidence throughout this book. I love that each sister has been given their own personality which makes them seem very realistic. They are all so different to each other and they all bringing different skills to the investigation which I thought was very clever.

The actual investigation was very interesting and I enjoyed trying to solve the case alongside the sisters. I’m a huge fan of big old houses hiding lots of secrets so this book instantly appears to me. The plot unfolds at a great pace and I liked that all the discoveries seemed natural rather than forced.

The author manages to set the scene in this novel perfectly and I loved all the bleak descriptions of the famous moors. Some of the Victorian attitudes about class, sex, religion and politics were also included into the plot too making me feel transported to Victorian Britain. It was quite sad to see these attitudes at times and I often felt quite emotional whilst reading.

Overall I really enjoyed this well written, fun and intriguing book. It was fantastic to follow the Brontë Sisters on their investigation and I now can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Huge thanks to Steven from Hodder books for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour. More Brontë Mysteries please!
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I enjoyed the first in the series and was looking forward to this too. I very much enjoyed the interaction between the Bronte family members, and seeing where the inspiration came from for their own novels, but somehow the mystery fell a little short for me. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
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I enjoyed the first Bronte Sisters Mystery so I was looking forward to this and it exceeded my expectations! For fans of the Bronte sisters, its a thrilling delight to delve into this imagined world in which they were detectives, and I love how carefully Bella Ellis draws on their works to retroactively suggest that some of their inspirations came from these detections. The subtle links to their works are a joy to discover, and spending time with them as fictional characters only makes me love them more as the inspirational figures they already are. 

Even if you're not a fan of the Bronte's I think this still stands as a fantastic historical mystery, it addresses many issues that are still relevant today, the treatment of refugees and immigrants, the cruelty of a world that allows children to go hungry, the barriers faced by women, and still manages to create a plot full of mystery, drama, horror and suspense. The atmosphere is phenomenal and Bella Ellis's writing is beautiful. I throughly recommend this. 

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the e-ARC of this in exchange for my honest review
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Another atmospheric entry in this new (cosyish?) mystery series featuring the Bronte sisters. This time, a set of bones has been found bricked up in a chimney breast in a nearby farmhouse.

Their housekeeper Tabby is convinced they're a bad omen. That the farmhouse's owner sold his soul to the devil for great riches...

The sisters are intrigued and set forth to find out the truth. Once again the author does a great job of bringing the Bronte family and the Yorkshire Moors to life. These books aren't pageturners for me in the same way as contemporary suspense stories often are, but rather a comforting distraction from real life. 

Take your time reading and enjoy your journey to the past.
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This is the second book in the series - the first book had me hooked so I was overjoyed to be approved for this one. 

The Bronte sisters are still pursuing their literary career, their brother Bradwell is still mired in sadness (but maybe we can see an end in sight?), when they once again find themselves involved in a murder. 

I think I enjoyed this more than the previous book, purely because I know the characters now, and I know that I really enjoy the authors style of writing. I have to say that I didn’t see the end of this story coming until the very very last moment!

This most definitely is a series I’m going to keep an eye out for, fantastic thank you!

My thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
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My first visit to the Haworth Parsonage and the Bronte sisters, and definitely not my last. 
This is a fascinating story of the Bronte's family life, and the descriptions of the Moors, the weather and other settings, such as the graveyard and orphanage, add to the unsettling atmosphere that surrounds the mystery the sisters must solve. 
A clever mix of gothic historical fiction and murder mystery, the writing merges fact and fiction into the history of the Bronte sisters lives.
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I found this book to be much darker than the previous Bronte mystery by Bella Ellis.  The story is fast moving and very well plotted.  The author has made the events seem real by putting in names and places that the sisters would have used in their work.  I would recommend this book - especially to a Brontë lover as it is intriguing and unusual.
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I haven't read the previous Bronte mystery by Bella Ellis but I judged I wouldn't need to and I was right. What I did need was a delight in the mystique of the Brontes- the harsh cold and mist of Yorkshire and all that- an interest in mysteries and the macabre, and an interest in the characters of the three authors that still remain something of an enigma. It's great to learn about Charlotte, Anne and Emily- their own writing has an ability to really understand them as living, breathing beings and having a novel to explore a focus on them as real women is pretty delightful. The murder and mystery is the cherry on the top of that particular cake.

It's not exactly cosy in the traditional sense, but if your idea of cosy crime is being thrown back in time with a familiar setting and interesting mystery, then this is for you.

Great sense of place, great mystery and engaging characters. There's very little else I would wish for!
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1846 - Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Bronte are hopeful that their collection of poems will be published, but they don't intend to give up their 'detecting' just yet. Also, they can't help but be concerned that their beloved father is losing his sight, and their brother, Branwell, is slowly sinking into depression after his disastrous love affair with a married woman. Their latest case involves the bones of a young child which are found in the chimney space of a disused room at Top Withens Hall. The room was shut up years before when the lady of the house died and hasn't been entered since.  The Bradshaw family who live there claim the skeleton is nothing to do with them, in fact along with the mystery writing found etched on stones nearby, the case could be one of the darkest the Brontes will ever deal with. 

I absolutely love this series. The author writes the characters of the Brontes so well, they are brought to life before your eyes. The plot is engrossing and, although some readers may find it rather slow paced, I delighted in the historical detail and world-building. I found myself noting the names and places that would eventually become immortalised in the sisters' most famous works. Can't wait for the next one. 

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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At first I wasn't sure I would enjoy this, as the writing style seemed a bit fussy, but I soon settled in and then it picked up quite a pace. I am not that familiar with any of the Bronte works (seen a film, sang the song) so I cannot say what novels might link to which element, but I can imagine a frisson of joy for those who can.
What's not to love, however, about feisty sisters overturning gender roles at a time when women were to be seen and not heard - and I am not just talking about out Bronte heroines... The storyline keeps trotting along at a steady pace and the whodunnit cannot be guessed too early, but can be guessed, which is always a pleasure. All in all a fun read for a cold winter's weekend.
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Haworth Parsonage, February 1846: The Bronte Sister's Anne, Emily and Charlotte are busy with their literary pursuits. They're also hoping for a new case for their fledgling detecting enterprise, Bell Brothers and Company Solicitors. Their housekeeper tells them of a grim discovery at Scar Top House, an old Farmhouse belonging to the Bradshaw Family. A set of bones has been found bricked up 8n a chimney breast.

This is the second book in the Bronte sisters mysteries. They also get some help from their brother, Bromwell
 This is quite a dark read that's full of twists and turns. This book will keep,you guessing. It's a complex and sinister case 

I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HodderStoughton and the author #BellaEllis for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Diabolical Bones is the sophomore instalment in the Brontë Mysteries series and carries on in the same dark, gritty and atmospheric vein of the opener. Haworth Parsonage, February 1846: The Brontë sisters— Anne, Emily, and Charlotte—are busy with their literary pursuits. As they query publishers for their poetry, each sister hopes to write a full-length novel that will thrill the reading public. They’re also hoping for a new case for their fledgling detecting enterprise, Bell Brothers and Company solicitors. On a bitterly cold February evening, their housekeeper Tabby tells them of a grim discovery at Scar Top House, an old farmhouse belonging to the Bradshaw family. A set of bones has been found bricked up in a chimney breast inside the ancient home. Tabby says it's bad doings, and dark omens for all of them. 

The rattled housekeeper gives them a warning, telling the sisters of a chilling rumour attached to the family. The villagers believe that, on the verge of bankruptcy, Clifton Bradshaw sold his soul to the devil in return for great riches. Does this have anything to do with the bones found in the Bradshaw house? The sisters are intrigued by the story and feel compelled to investigate. But Anne, Emily, and Charlotte soon learn that true evil has set a murderous trap and they've been lured right into it... This is a richly-detailed and captivating work of historical crime novel, which evokes the sights, sounds and smells of 19th century Britain. Every bit as accomplished and engaging as The Vanished Bride, this is an entertaining and superbly written mystery. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC.
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I would like to thank netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Another intriguing Bronte mystery! I love seeing the personalities of all four siblings at play.
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After the loving the first book in this Bronte Mystery Series, The Vanished Bride, I couldn't wait to read The Diabolical Bones which is the second book in the series. 

We follow the Bronte siblings as they embark on another mystery adventure, this time to find the identity of the child whose remains have been found in the chimney of a house in their town and find out who put them there. 

This book slipped straight back into the natural rhythm of the first book with the characterisations and dynamics of the siblings continuing seamlessly throughout the book. Each of the siblings is believable and an accurate representation based on what we know of the Bronte family. The author's love of and knowledge about the Brontes shines through in the storytelling and makes for a really enjoyable and fun adventure. 

I think I actually enjoyed this second installment more than the first as there was less of a need for introducing the characters and setting the scene so the pacing was much better and the narrative flowed effortlessly. 

This is such a fantastic series and I hope to see many more books to come. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC.
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the diabolical bones is the second book in the @brontemysteries series by bella ellis. we find the bronte sisters working to solve the mystery surrounding the remains of a malnourished child. not very ladylike of course but spinsters are doing it for themselves 🎶 n all that

normally I don’t love occult stories and I’ll admit it took me a long while to get into this one, but ellis writes with her signature charm and wit and breathes such life into bronte country and all the characters that I was inevitably sucked in. I enjoyed that anne really shone in this one after taking the back seat in the first of the series. recommend to lovers of gothic mysteries, the brontes, 19th century britain and spoooooky stuff 👻 

the diabolical bones is out in the uk on november 5th! huge thanks to @hodderbooks @netgalley and @brontemysteries for the advanced ecopy of this one in exchange for an honest (albeit lazy) review
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Thank you, NetGalley, for letting me read this. 

I loved Bella Ellis's first Bronte sisters book, and I think I liked this even more. She riffs on Wuthering Heights here, to wonderful effect. 

Anne, Emily and Charlotte, with brother Branwell in tow, take on another mystery. There's lots of gothick detailing, a thrilling adventure, and running alongside all of that, the real happenings in the real lives of the family - Branwell's little, ahem, problem features, as well as the realities of life in a poor Yorkshire village in the 19th Century. 

I think this would stand alone as a great read, but it is really enriched if you know the Brontes' work. There was additional fun in spotting the inspiration for their books. And Emily is so...Emily, and Charlotte is so Charlotte, and Anne is just great. 

I'm just hoping there's more on the way.
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The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis is the second book in what is rapidly becoming one of my favourite ongoing series, The Bronte Sisters Mysteries. Once again the three sisters become invested in solving a mystery, this time involving the discovery of the skeletal remains of a child in a walled off room in a remote farmhouse on the windswept moors. The family who owns the house includes a brutish father , Clifton Bradshaw who is mourning the loss of his beloved wife years before, and a son who is coming of age and desperate to get out from under his cruel father's control. The house is also the source of much rumour and speculation, including a tale that  Clifton has sold his soul to the devil . Assuming the remains are centuries old , the sisters decide to give them a decent burial, but another discovery at the burial site seems to suggest that they are much more recent, and it seems likely that foul play was involved. Once again the three women, helped and occasionally hindered by brother Branwell, thrust themselves into uncovering the truth ,which is darker than any of them ever imagined. 
This is an impeccably researched and beautifully written mystery, perfect reading for the dark and wintry nights ahead. The writing is wonderfully atmospheric and very evocative of both time and place, and the story itself is both cleverly told and distressingly believable in the context of the social and political climate of the time. The author does not shy away from tackling the unpleasant aspects of Victorian attitudes to social standing, race, politics and religion, instead incorporating them into the book in a way that adds to the story without feeling like a lecture. The real highlight of this book, as was the case in the previous one, is the wonderful characterisation of the three sisters. each of whom has a distinct personality. Fans of their writing will enjoy the suggestion that the people the girls meet in this book could have acted as inspiration for some of the characters readers have come to love over the centuries. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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