A Gift Of Poison

A Gift Of Poison

By Bella Ellis

What it’s about?

Haworth 1847 – Anne and Emily Brontë have had their books accepted for publication, while Charlotte’s has been rejected everywhere, creating a strained atmosphere at the parsonage.

At the same time, a shocking court case has recently concluded, acquitting a workhouse master of murdering his wife by poison. Everyone thinks this famously odious and abusive man is guilty. However, he insists he is many bad things but not a murderer. When an attempt is made on his life, he believes it to be the same person who killed his wife and applies to the detecting sisters for their help.

Despite reservations, they decide that perhaps, as before, it is only they who can get to the truth and prove him innocent – or guilty – without a shadow of doubt.

What I think:

This is the last book in the Bronte Mysteries and its a cracker.

The mystery itself is complex and fantastical. As always, it mixes historical fact with fiction with some mystism and magic. The writer blends the real and the imagined so well.

For me, the most interesting aspects of this book was the way in which the relationships between the Brontes themselves develop and evolve. With Anne and Emily about to be published, Charlotte is suffering – mainly from jealousy rather than a lack of confidence. She begins writing a new novel that is convinced will make her name. That novel is Jane Eyre.

Branwell’s physical and mental health is continuing to decline and taking a toll on the whole family. The prospect of losing their brother and thinking ahead to the death of their father means that the sisters have real challenges ahead of them if they are going to survive.

They all agree that this will be their last mystery. Increasingly concerned about the impact their sleuthing will have on their reputations, they are desperate not to upset their father. Fate intervenes, and this becomes a full-scale family investigation.

I won’t spoil the mystery for you. But it is a fascinating glimpse into some of the beliefs of the people of Victorian Yorkshire, their attitudes to the supernatural, and their morality. It’s dark and evocative and complex.

This is a fitting end to a great series. It leaves the sisters at a turning point in their lives. Publication and acclaim are heading their way, they are positive and confident. Tragedy and heartache still await around the corner, but they are not for now. The sisters are full of love and happiness.

I have really enjoyed this series and highly recommend it to any Bronte fan.

Thank you to Netgalley for my gifted digital copy of A Gift of Poison.

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