Bedlam The Further Secret Adventures Of Charlotte Bronte
Laura Joh Rowland
Overlook, May 13 2020, $25.95
Charlotte Bronte wants to mourn the deaths of her sisters Anne and Emily, but Jane Eyre will not allow her to. She feels survival guilt as her two novelist siblings never saw their writings make it though now thanks in part to her tale Jane Eyre, she and her late siblings are the talk of the nation.
Charlotte has also ended her relationship with her beloved John Slade, whom she met during her Moscow adventure last year (see Secret Adventures Of Charlotte Bronte). Famous author William Makepeace Thackeray has mentored Charlotte and helps her deal with sudden fame and entrance to the literary lions of London. She is escorted on a tour of Bedlam Psychiatric Hospital, but one inmate looks like Anne’s twin and worse another has to be John. She challenges the officials re the latter’s identification and told he is Polish expatriate Josef Typinski, who escaped when a murder causes chaos. The authorities accuse Josef of the homicide while Charlotte gets involved.
Rotating perspective between Charlotte’s journal and Slade’s escapades, readers will fully believe the last Bronte sister’s adventures this time in England. The story line is fast-paced, filled with action and feels plausible even with Charlotte turning into an amateur sleuth of sorts. As with the previous Charlotte Bronte’s secret adventures (in Moscow), fans of Victorian thrillers will be thrilled reading about the heroine’s bedlam escapades.