• The Vanished Bride

  • A Brontë Sisters Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Bella Ellis
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery.... 

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters - the Brontë sisters - learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance. 

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines - it’s seeing what is not there.” 

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril...

©2019 Bella Ellis (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“The Bronte sisters as sleuths - what a delicious idea! Bella Ellis has brilliantly recreated the feel and atmosphere of the Bronte novels, as well as bringing the three sisters (and their dissolute brother) vividly to life. What's more, it's a rattling good story!” (Rhys Bowen New York Times best-selling author of the Royal Spyness novels, the Molly Murphy Mysteries, and The Victory Garden)

“Appropriately gothic touches as well as the author’s solid research on the lives and works of the Brontës - including cameos by their dissolute brother, Branwell; their good-hearted father, Patrick; and Charlotte’s clumsy future husband, Arthur Nicholls - enrich a diverting adventure. Brontë aficionados won’t want to miss this one." (Publisher’s Weekly)

“Move over, Jane Austen, for the latest literary ladies who snoop...[a] lively series debut.” (Kirkus)

What listeners say about The Vanished Bride

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I bought this because I love the narrator

I think Elizabeth Knowelden is one of the finest narrators out there! She is simply brilliant and completely engaging. With her skill and timing, she makes the reader laugh and ache and worry and celebrate just as much as the words themselves do.

Having said that, the book itself is great fun as well. A fine mystery that kept me guessing to the very end. It makes the reader feel as if he/she really gets to know the Bronte sisters and understand a little more what drove them to write the works they did.

There’s a smidgen too much complaining about “evil patriarchy”, but it’s only a minor irritation. I do hope for a few real heroes in the next books.

Overall, I’m looking forward to reading the next adventure of the Bronte Detectors.

9 people found this helpful

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Enchanting!

I adored this book, everything about it! I cannot wait for the next one in the series. In the meantime I will listen to others narrated by this reader, who is absolutely marvelous! This audio book is a real treat in every way!

3 people found this helpful

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Many Gothic elements familiar to Bronte fans

I enjoyed this novel since I love the Bronte sisters and already know a fair amount about their biographies. The story is engaging, the characters are well drawn, and the settings are darkly Victorian. I especially like the very feminine point of view used to good advantage by the author and especially apt in a novel featuring Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. The author is very knowledgeable about her subject and uses this to good effect. These three incredibly talented writers, who initially had to publish their works using a male pseudonym, eventually became very successful and easily achieved their goal of supporting themselves without the need to marry. Sadly, they all died far too young which makes their contribution to literature all the more poignant. It seems 170 years later, although, as they say, women have come a long way, we still live in a society which is not free of sexual discrimination and bias. Anyone who enjoys the Bronte sisters will want to try this book and anyone who enjoys this book but who has not read the Bronte sisters will find a trove of literary delights awaiting then. I always enjoy the narration of Elisabeth Knowelden who has a wonderful sense of timing and also the ability to convey a sense of dry humor when implied by the text.

2 people found this helpful

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Returned

I was really holding out hope for this book. Unfortunately it was utterly boring, both narration and story. I honestly didn’t get far but I wasted close to 3 hours of my life on this one.

2 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t Finish

I don’t even know how the story unfolds because the reading of it is so breathy I couldn’t listen past the first chapter!
I enjoy Elizabeth Knowelden very much in other stories ( T E Kinsey’s), but this was nerve- wracking !

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Delightful

Written with a deep understanding of the family’s lives, this is a good mystery that celebrates and respects the Brontë sisters as the striking women they were. This is not “Elizabeth Bennett Solves A Murder,” thank goodness. The plot is well developed and well paced. Elizabeth Knowelden is wonderful as always.

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Hang in there

The novel itself takes quite awhile to satisfyingly get moving as the characters are established and some backstory filled in on the family. Hence the title of this review. Really, hang in there. Its very much worth it as the mystery is slowly revealed and, though one may guess at the general plot, the details are altogether too delicious.

The performer is Elizabeth Knowelden so of course it’s excellently done.

I would however not do as I did and begin this book directly after binging on the Lady Hardcastle series. It takes a bit to make the adjustment to the new characters being voiced by the same person and I’d recommend listening to something else in between as a sort of the palate cleanser.

Definitely credit worthy.

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Slow to get into but hooked shortly after

I don't know much about the Bronte sisters, so that might explain my slow start. Since I didn't have that knowledge base, to begin with, I think it is even more impressive as a story. I'm glad the author discussed the sisters at the end. Now I'm inspired to learn more about their real works!

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A True Delight

The Brontë sisters make a wonderful set of sleuths in this juicy mystery. For a parson’s daughters, they are remarkably unphased (though saddened by) by accounts of spousal abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and possibly lesbian relationships. Not usual for Victorian era women, but these are not usual ladies. Intrepid, brilliant, and full of clever repartee, they are irrepressible and irresistible. And the reader is skilled at defining each character. If you love British period mysteries, don’t miss it!

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