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.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read a lot of historical crime fiction, some of which contain created characters for the novel combined with those from real life whose actions during their life form part of a storyline. However, this is the only series I have read where real life characters are shown in a totally different way to their true personalities. I love reading about the Brontë family’s roles as detecters rather than authors. I also got a lot of enjoyment by seeing at least one character from the Brontë novels and another from their personal lives having a role here.
In this novel the siblings have left their beloved Yorkshire and travelled to London to rescue a friend who is in trouble. They have gone without telling their father where they are going, armed with one of his pistols and are determined to help their friend Lydia, daughter of the woman who has rejected Bramwell Brontë’s advances. He hopes that her mother will change her mind when she hears about his bravery, his sisters just want to help Lydia and her husband whose life has been threatened.
I love this series, the Brontë family is one I know little about and I have never read the novels. I always feel a degree of sadness because of them all dying young within a short time but these books are very entertaining and there is only a brief glimpse of loneliness at the beginning. I love their bravery, their attitudes towards those who try and deter them from their work and their support towards the ones who need it. This novel does feature Bramwell more but most of the focus is on the three sisters.
The hardship, poverty and theatre life are shown brilliantly. The description of the rookery in St Giles is just how I’ve always imagined life to be for many in an over populated London at this time and the description of wild animals used as entertainment was one I had never considered and left me with a sense of outrage and heartbreak.
The Red Monarch is a fantastic addition to the series, I can’t wait to see what adventures they will face next.