Delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Red Monarch by Bella Ellis today. Huge thanks to Stevie at Hodder for the invitation to join and for the gorgeous proof copy!
Author : Bella Ellis
Title : The Red Monarch
Series : Brönte Sisters Mystery #3
Pages : 340
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : November 18, 2021 (hardcover)
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her friend Lydia Robinson.
Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life.
In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of…The Red Monarch.
| MY THOUGHTS |
I’m just going to come out and say it right away. This third instalment in the Brönte Sisters Mystery series is the best one yet. And that’s saying something because the previous two books were absolute corkers in their own right.
The sisters have just published their first poetry collection but they will have to wait to see how it’s being received by the critics because more pressing matters are calling. Anne’s friend Lydia desperately needs some detecting help. Lydia’s husband has been kidnapped by a criminal gang which is ruling the streets of London. If Lydia wants to see her husband alive again, she must return something her husband allegedly stole. How hard can it be, right? Well, pretty hard. Because Lydia is heavily pregnant, living in poverty and most importantly, doesn’t have a clue what something she’s supposed to be looking for.
Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell travel down to London to help. They are entirely unprepared for what awaits them there. The streets of the big city are so very different from their beloved Yorkshire moors and danger lurks around every corner. With only three days left until Lydia’s husband faces certain death, the Bröntes are on a desperate race against time to save this man’s life. If only they knew where to start.
It takes Bella Ellis less than a paragraph to completely transport me to the 1800s. For there is so much more to this story than simply solving a mystery. Through the eyes of the main characters, the reader too witnesses the horrible circumstances many residents of London live in. From the opera singer with her sugar daddy, who provides her with a questionable sense of protection; to Lydia herself, who lost out on an inheritance when she chose love and now lives in the tiniest attic room above a theatre; to so many others who toil day and night to try and move forward in life, only to be shoved back down by criminal overlords. And this is just what they can see on the surface as there are far more despicable things happening behind closed doors. My lips are sealed. You’ll have to discover that for yourself.
These characters grow with every book and it is such a joy to get to know them better. With Lydia being Anne’s friend, I had assumed Anne would take a more central role this time around. While the youngest sister is most definitely stepping up and surprising every one around her, and even Branwell gets involved, for me it is once again Emily who steals the show as she has done since the first book in the series. I adore her and her temperament, I adore how she longs for adventure and yet ultimately always ends up feeling home is still best, I adore her spontaneity, I adore how she doesn’t always think before she jumps …. The list goes on.
These delightful characters have most definitely captured my heart. The supporting cast is every bit as strong and brilliant. As to the mystery, it took me a minute to figure out who was behind it all, calling themselves the red monarch, but I thoroughly enjoyed doing my own bit of detecting. And the something that everyone is looking for, well, let’s just say that shocking reveal left me reeling. Really didn’t see that coming at all. For 340 pages I was absolutely enthralled, absorbed, glued to the pages and I even ended up feeling rather emotional. A perfect afternoon’s reading. I absolutely love this series and I can’t wait for more! ❤️
The ebook of The Red Monarch is available to buy. The hardback will be published on Thursday.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Bella Ellis is the Brontë-inspired pen name for the award winning, Sunday Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman. A Brontë devotee for most of her life, Rowan is the author of fourteen novels including The Memory Book, The Summer of Impossible Things and The Girl at the Window.