Book Review: The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff

The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff

Genres: Young adult, historical fiction.

On the morning of her wedding, Pell Ridley creeps out of bed in the dark, kisses her sisters goodbye and flees — determined to escape a future that offers nothing but hard work and sorrow. She takes the only thing that truly belongs to her: Jack, a white horse.

The road ahead is rich with longing, silence and secrets, and each encounter leads her closer to the untold story of her past. Then Pell meets a hunter, infuriating, mysterious and cold. Will he help her to find what she seeks?

The Bride’s Farewell is a moving story of love and lost things, with a core of deep, beautiful romance.

The Bride’s Farewell
is very different from Meg Rosoff’s other novels, How I Live Now and Just In Case (I have yet to read What I Was), but it wouldn’t be fair to judge it against them.

This particular novel takes place in the 19th century and centres around 17-year-old Pell. Pell leaves her home without notice and runs away from her family and fiance because she is unhappy with her situation and vows never to marry. This is the first instance where I felt Pell was a strong, feminist female character and realised this wasn’t going to be a stereotypical “chick-lit romance” novel (not that I think chick-lit is anti-feminist!), which I had assumed it would be based on the title and cover (I have the purple Penguin Books cover which features a young girl alone on a horse. It looks very girly and picturesque with no book description, which made me try to guess what the book was going to be about). Pell takes her younger brother, Bean (who never attempts to speak), with her and sets off on her horse in order to find a job (also unheard of in the society she is in). Pell and Bean become separated and Rosoff alternates between telling the reader about Pell and Bean’s experiences (although, in my opinion, with not enough focus on Bean).

This is a short novel (only 186 pages, with extremely short chapters) and I feel this may be one of the reasons why we are not able to get to know every character and understand their story, which leaves many unanswered questions, but this does not necessarily make for a bad story. I enjoyed this book overall, which is why I’m giving it 3.5/5. It offers a refreshing look at 19th century society and does not fall in to stereotypes. It is by no means perfect but may be an ideal novel for people, like me, who generally read novels set in the 21st century.

My Rating: ★★★½