Thursday, September 12, 2019

Book Review: The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Pages: 304
Publisher: Berkley Books
Released: September 10, 2019
Received: e-ARC from NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars

I hadn't even heard of this book an probably wouldn't have read it if it weren't for the publisher sending me a link to download the book through NetGalley. So, well done, it worked. Again.

And, again, I'm very happy this happened because I really enjoyed The Vanished Bride. It's one of those books that maybe isn't perfect and has some room for criticism and improvement, but, for the most part, none of that mattered to me. I started reading the first chapter "just to see" and ended up getting completely sucked into the story.

It moved at a nice swift but not breakneck pace, and shorty chapters definitely helped with this. The point of view changed between Charlotte and Emily and I ended up liking both of them a lot even though, objectively, both probably should have annoyed me. Ah, wait, Anne is in this book (she isn't in the other Bronte mystery book). Drat. Ok, so I read another Bronte-mystery book (Always Emily) soon after finishing this one as The Vanished Bride so inspired me to delve into the Brontes and left me wanting more fictional Bronte sleuthing, and I think I may have bits and pieces of the two mixed up.

Ok, so less detail and more general impressions, because that I don't have mixed up. The mystery kept me on my toes and intrigued. The sisters were all appealing and fun to spend time with. I liked their brother, even as I was shaking my head at him. It was kind of corny but ultimately I liked all the nods the author made toward the Brontes' stories, as if the events they were experiencing in The Vanished Bride were the things that influenced the sisters' later (real) books. It was a total gimmick, but it was also one I fell for totally.

The only thing I didn't like was the bit at the end. It felt unnecessary and like it was shoehorned in just to provide an element of modern diversity and "damn the patriarchy" that didn't fit with the rest of the book. It felt out of place in a novel starring the Brontes, for a character who this seemed not aligned with her characterization during the entire rest of the book, and in a story that, up until the very, very end, hadn't even hinted at this.

But, that bit aside, I very much enjoyed this book and I definitely plan on reading the next in the series.

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