Friday, February 25, 2022

A review of The Red Monarch by Bella Ellis (Rowan Coleman)

 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 former pupil 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.

Product information

I have to humbly and profusely thank the author, Bella Ellis aka Rowan Coleman for making sure I received an arc of The Red Monarch; especially, since it is not published in the United States. 

Have you ever had a fantasy of living in an actual theatre?  Well, in The Red Monarch, Bella Ellis the pen name for author Rowan Coleman has actor Harry Roxby and his wife, Lydia Roxby living in Covent Garden Theatre, Drury Lane, London, 1846. What a brilliant idea!  An empty theatre at night full of ghosts and goblins and in this case criminals.  Ah, there's nothing like it.  Lydia heavy with child thrilled to see her old teacher, Anne Bronte with her sisters Emily, Charlotte AND brother Branwell sober and waxing lyrical about Lydia's mother, his old flame.  Imagine that scene.  Harry has just been kidnapped by the criminal gang he has stolen a 'jewel' from -- with many surprises on that front.  

The Bronte sisters with brother have one week to solve a mystery within a mystery. I am telling you, The Red Monarch is the most exciting in this Bronte mystery detective series. It is a stand alone but the other previous ones are wonderfully enchanting as well.  If these famous sisters running around the bad parts of London meeting all sorts of terrible people getting into mischief isn't exciting for that alone then this book isn't for you. I mean come on Charlotte Bronte even meets Charles Dickens!!  That's right...

The Red Monarch has all the elements to keep you reading (hopefully). In my case, there's the siblings themselves where the humor and dialogue scenes are enough. There is the city of London in addition to beautiful Haworth and Yorkshire but nothing beats a good criminal gang in dirty old London town with a race against time where people's lives are at stake.   
This book is difficult to review because there are so many surprises that I can't fully explain the way I usually do. I want the readers to have that gobsmacked jaw opening breath intake moment that I had several times. I hope you will give The Red Monarch a try. 

To purchase worldwide,  Book Depository

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

A Brand New Charlotte Bronte exhibition



Wednesday 02 February 2022

February 02nd 2022 10:00am - January 01st 2023 05:00pm

This brand new exhibition,  co-curated with historical consultant Dr Eleanor Houghton, places focus on some of the remarkable garments and accessories worn by Charlotte Brontë. These brightly coloured, fashionable, even exotic items boldly challenge the preconception that Brontë and her famous protagonist Jane Eyre  were, at least in terms of dress, one and the same. The clothes draw attention to both Charlotte’s ordinary and extraordinary lives but also remind us that she was an active participant of the fast-changing mid-nineteenth century.

At the heart of ‘Defying Expectations’ is a striped evening dress, which has never been exhibited before. The dress was proved to be Charlotte’s during an extensive period of research conducted over the last six years by Dr Eleanor Houghton, the first scholar ever to have studied the clothing in the Brontë Society collection  in detail.  

The exhibition features more than twenty pieces of Charlotte’s clothing and accessories, and offers an intimate insight into both her domestic and literary lives.

Admission to the exhibition is free with entry to the Museum.

Below photo from The Yorkshire Post newspaper 

A book review of The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse

New York Times  bestselling author Kate Mosse returns with  The Ghost Ship , a sweeping historical epic of adventure on the high seas. The B...