Cover Image: The Diabolical Bones

The Diabolical Bones

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I stayed up night after night reading just a little bit more!
It was just so exciting! 
I wasn't sure how the writer was going to fulfil my expectations because the premise was so ambitious...a novel featuring three of the most famous Victorian female writers, the Bronte sisters. 

The book needed to have well rounded characters that had to feel accurate, not just in terms of both the place and period, but also according to what is known historically about the family and also a compelling plot that lived up to it's dramatic gothic title. I was not disappointed! 
I loved the plot in itself, but the little hints of how their adventure and detective work then inspired the Brontes novels was such fun. The tone and language was just right, a nod to the period but with a contemporary feel that made it very easy to read. I loved it...not sure what to read now, feeling bereft!
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As usual with my reviews, I will not rehash the plot (as I always think "Why bother to read a book if someone's already told you exactly what happens?).

Having read "The Vanished Bride", I was delighted when this - the second book in the series - came out.  This book could be read as a standalone, as there is plenty of background information, and a whole batch of new characters as well as those we've already met.

The characterisation of the Bronte family is excellent; as the author is clearly knowledgeable about the lives of Charlotte, Anne, and Emily, their brother Branwell, and father Patrick, their "fictional" versions and interplay between them and other characters feels very authentic.

The plot itself is well conceived, with many a red herring to throw the reader off the track (I felt quite pleased with myself for realising who the villain of the piece was!).  There are hints that characters, names (Earnshaw, Poole) and events from this novel are to be used as fuel for (future) writings by the sisters - again a nice touch.

I'm feeling buoyed up by the expectation of further novels in this series - and look forward to reading them!

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC in return for my honest review.
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Having read The Vanished Bride, I was really looking forward to this book and it didn't disappoint!  I really enjoy the crime within the book - this one kept me guessing (which I like) and also felt consistent plot-wise (which I also like!) so even without the fact that it's the Bronte sisters, I enjoy the story.  But having the famous sisters adds an extra layer of enjoyment.  The interplay between them is so well done, and you really believe that they're the *real* Brontes!  I think I came away last time preferring Anne of all three, and I felt pretty much the same this time, though I do also enjoy Emily for her wild streak.

You can feel the chill of the wind and weather up on the Yorkshire Moors, and I like all the peripheral characters around and about the Brontes too.  It feels like you're living a bit of their life with them, and it was exciting in this one that they had sent off some of their work to try and get it published.

I'm now fully convinced that the Brontes clearly were detectives...I think it would take a lot to convince me otherwise now!  Heartily recommended, and I'm already looking forward to their next outing.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this review copy. Having read The Vanished Bride,  I was excited to read the second in the Bronte mysteries series and I was not disappointed. As I had listened to the first book through audible, I read this sequel alternating with the audible copy- reading ahead when I was desperate to know what happened next. I cannot  recommend the audible version enough as the narrator captures the Yorkshire voices of the characters brilliantly and makes the words of the text come alive. I hope Bella Ellis continues this series for some time as I have throughly enjoyed her novels.
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This is the second in the Bronte mystery series and although it is a stand alone story it is probably best to have read The Vanished bride first to get some past understanding. Yet again a murder mystery is investigated by Anne, Charlotte and Emily , it’s so clever, linking a made up tale with historical fact and places. Highly entertaining and highly recommend. 
Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
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The Diabolical Bones is the second book in the Bronte Mysteries series in which the Bronte sisters' (and their brother Branwell to some extent) are amateur detectives solving crimes in their small village. In the Diabolical Bones human remains have been found at the mysterious Top Withens house and Emily, Anne and Charlotte are determined to find out who they belong to and what happened to them - even if if puts them in great danger!

I really enjoyed this book and the first book for two reasons. Firstly the mystery aspect is very well done and I enjoyed trying to solve the crime alongside the characters - looking for clues and being wary of red herrings. But most enjoyable for me was the representation of the Brontes and how they interact with each other and the world around them. I love the Bronte sisters and have read a lot about them and in my opinion Bella Ellis portrays them perfectly and they act just how I would expect them to. It was also interesting to see how the Irish villagers in the story were treated at that time; I am of Irish ancestry so it was quite sad to see how they were abused and blamed for everything they went wrong in the community. Indeed Patrick Bronte was from Ireland so this gave an interesting slant to the story.

I really recommend this series if you like historical mystery.
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The Diabolical Bones (The Bronte Mysteries) by Bella Ellis 
Genre: Historical Fiction and Mystery & Thriller 
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 
Publish Date: 5 November 2020 
Star Rating: 5/5 

The book cover of the first novel in The Bronte Mysteries series really captured me and now so has the second. When I reviewed the first book, I said that this type of book is the type of book I would hunt down special editions of to display on my bookshelf and now there is another. I just really love the Gothic feeling - and now it's in burgundy. But, The Bronte Mysteries is more than just pretty covers, they are a strange concoction of Gothic, mystery, and the Bronte sisters living in a parallel universe that is their own but they are detectives while going about publishing their poems and eventually books. It's so odd and it works so so well due to Ellis’ genius way of storytelling. 

The Diabolical Bones, is darker than the first novel which I approve of. First, the novel opens with a poem written by Emily, which is full of foreboding and sets the tone of the book perfectly. As, this time round we have a child’s bones bricked up in a chimney, a spectator in a graveyard, mentions of the infamous Hellfire Club, a visit to the last of the Pendle Hill witches and maybe, the devil himself. The mixture of old Yorkshire superstition, the science and rationality of the 19th century with a healthy dose of religious morality truly drives the story forward. Moving on from this we get to continue being enveloped in the complicated but loving relationship between the four Bronte siblings: Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell. Their relationships were complex in real life which is mirrored in this novel. Emily still remains my strong favourite but my stance on Branwell has moved slightly. I’ve often been frustrated by Branwell - but how he is presented in this novel I believe him still to be his own worst enemy - but now I pity him for not being born a girl. The distance, loneliness and some conversations in the book all seem to reach back to this great dividing point and it's not hard to believe this could be the reality of it. 

Ellis litters the novel with references from the sisters' infamous novel. As the sisters go about their detecting we meet characters, visit institutes, houses and landscapes that all lead the reader into thinking, we are being given special insight into the influences of the Bronte’s world on which they based their characters and novels on. Which I loved.  Then I remembered that this is a fictional work but it's too late, they hold a fictional place in my heart now.  

I hope we will not have too long a wait till the next instalment… 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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The Brontë sister go detecting, à body is found buried (hiden) in a chimney stack and the home owner is the main suspect. But no-one can prove it or identify the body
With their Papa  (as they call him) going blind  and there brother Barnwell going of the rails with the help of the bottle. The girls have a lot of space not often given for girls of any standing in society, there Papa was the vicar aided by Mr Nichols who greatly admires Charlotte much to her sisters Emilly and Anbe's amusement and her distain.
Anyhow the sisters having set out to rescue the bones that have been discovered decide this needs looking into by someone else as the constable send very inept and it seems only fair that the body has a name as in life so should it be in death to give him or her some dignity. This proves a tough call and Tabby's knowledge is needed more than they expected, Tabby is the house keeper not a cat who knows the old ways as she calls them.  Help comes from many sources and delightful characters and some more sinister which all adds  to the tension and suspense which comes full-bodied right to the last sip.
I enjoyed this novel I'm not a Brontë connoisseur pride and prejudice doesn't do it for me, however Bella Ellis isn't writing romance but a whodunnit set in  the mid-1800s and she knows the era and I hope you love this as I did.
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The second in Bella Ellis (aka Rowan Coleman)'s "Brontë mysteries" was another fantastic read. When a child's long hidden bones are found at Top Withens, Charlotte, Emily and Anne (and occasionally Branwell in a semi-detached sort of way) become "detectors" once again, determined to identify the child and uncover the truth. It feels like a rather darker story than the first in the series, The Vanished Bride, and is a gripping read. (I did guess the culprit early on - but that didn't spoil my enjoyment in any way.) 

The characterisation and interactions between the sisters (and Branwell, and Tabby) are a delight throughout and it's great to see Anne - possibly my favourite sister - get the attention she deserves.

There are character names here which would later become familiar through the novels (Earnshaw, Catherine, Grace Poole) and others which sound like they easily could belong there (Clifton and Liston Bradshaw). 

The author clearly knows her Brontës and although there's no evidence that they did in fact investigate mysteries in their spare time, their lives are otherwise accurately represented (with a few minor tweaks which the author acknowledges). 

(Very near the end, Emily remarks that she is "thinking of a novel... a novel of such barbarity and infamy that the world will tremble at its pages: a novel that shows what evil and depravity men - and women - are capable of" - a remarkably accurate description of the book she went on to write, even if it's nowadays - frustratingly - mainly characterised as a  love story by people who haven't read it.)

Loved it and can't wait for more!
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The second book in the Brontë Mysteries series is just as fantastic as the first. The sisters are written really vividly and their exchanges are so witty that I'd happily read about them just pottering around the house. That there's a great detective story too is a bonus. Like the first book, the inequalities of nineteenth century England are explored.
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This is the second book to use the Bronte sisters as detectors, but can easily be read as a stand alone.  Bella Ellis cleverly weaves her fictional tale of detection together with real aspects of the Brontes’ lives.  This is very well done.  Having visited the vicarage where they lived, and knowing the  surrounding wild moors, I appreciated the accurate descriptions.  A brilliant read.  I hope there will be a third volume!
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"Chilling" and "addictive" sum it up perfectly. This second entry in the Bronte Mysteries series is one thrill after another. Bella Ellis deftly weaves biographical details and larger than life personalities in the midst of a truly spine-tingling plot.
There's so much to enjoy here, from the thoughtful portrayal of all three Bronte sisters (and their brother), to the well crafted atmosphere of secrecy and tension on the Yorkshire moors. Although many readers may quickly pick up on which character they shouldn't trust, the speedy pace and well written sense of peril ensure they'll be glued all the way to the last page.
The characterizations were delightful, and I found myself highlighting passages again and again. Emily is my favorite, with her staunch outsider status and utter disregard for subtlety. I find myself laughing out loud at some of the things she says, and wondering whether she means to be funny or not. At times like those it was easy to forget that an author is putting words in her mouth.
There's something about the Brontes' lives that lends itself to this type of book, that makes it not ridiculous. Their short, difficult lives somehow combine believably with the dire situations that the author gives them to unravel, and the fact that the reader knows where their lives are headed adds gravitas to the story.
Future books in the series will be most welcome!
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3.5 stars

As enjoyable as the first book,if a little darker.
I enjoyed the references to some of the Bronte books in this one.
Some excellent detecting ,and a mystery I didn't solve until the last minute (the who,not the why)
Great characters.
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I adore this series of books and believe they are brilliantly written.  We couldn’t purchase them as we are a primary school but I will be recommending these widely.  
The Brontë sisters are back to detecting with some assistance from Branwell, though he is still nursing a broken heart.  The girls are entirely capable of solving the mystery of the bones found in a home not far from the parsonage. 
The bones were found behind a fireplace and the mystery develops as a gold medallion and strange symbols were found around the bones.  The sisters work tirelessly to determine the age and name of the child, the reasons it might have been in the fireplace and the greater mystery that evolves over time.  
With plenty of twists and turns, I tried to pay close attention to who I thought may have been the murderer, but still found myself surprised with the ending.  That, to me, is the sign of an excellent book.
I love the historical references and use of the incredible Brontë family, who I find fascinating.  They were no stranger to grief and heartache but I believe they were all highly intelligent and capable of offering more than what women were allowed to do in those times.  

An incredible book!
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