26 August, 2009

Book 22 - The Bride's Farewell, or: You can run (from your past) but you can't hide...

This week's excuse for belated blog posting: I have been off on a skiing holiday! I have returned with a father with a broken shoulder and a crush on my very nice and Scottish ski instructor. Also, with two more books under my belt! Not literally though, my belts don't stretch that far.

Title: The Bride's Farewell (2009)

Author: Meg Rosoff

Why this book?
Saw the review of it over at My Favourite Books and thought it sounded interesting, and needed something to read at the airport on Friday so when I saw it for sale I grabbed it.

What's it all about anyway?
Pell Ridley cares for the man she is supposed to marry, and she loves her brother and sisters, but she knows if she becomes Birdie's wife and stays in her village she has nothing to look forward to but drudgery and misery. The night before her wedding she decides to leave with her horse, Jack, and look for work, as far a way from home as she can get. Her plans are immediately interrupted when her younger brother Bean decides to join her, and it's not long before everything has gone horribly wrong and she's lost both her brother and her horse.

With no money, and no friends, Pell is nevertheless determined to find them again. Her gift with horses finds her both friends and enemies, as does her own unwillingness to compromise her own happiness for anyone else. Strangers both help and hinder her journey, sometimes giving her food and shelter, sometimes using her for their own profit. Eventually, the trail left by Jack and Bean runs cold, and Pell returns to her village, only to find that her escape had devastating consequences for the people she loved. She does her best to make things right, and fortune finally favours her in the shape of a an excellent job with an understanding boss - but she knows she can never be happy until she finds her brother and her horse, and no matter how much she's enjoying her new life, she can't forget the one she left behind...

The Good and the Bad
OK, so I made this book sound far more depressing than it actually is. I mean, it is depressing in the sense that it is pretty historically accurate, but it's not a wrist-slitting tragedy. It was a light read - I'd almost finished it even before my plane took off - but it's a gripping read, too, and Rosoff's language is simple but evocative.

What I really loved about The Bride's Farewell was that it had all the elements of a clich├ęd historical novel without ever becoming one. Pell is a talented, intelligent young woman in a world where women are supposed to be neither, but she's not fighting for women's rights - she accepts that that's the way things are. She's a strong, determined character, but she makes plenty of mistakes, is at times too naive and at others too untrusting. Without spoiling too much, I also liked that Pell's story was part of a bigger picture, one which the reader is allowed to see but Pell never realises (although I think perhaps Rosoff spelled things out to the reader so obviously that it was almost disappointing the Pell never figured out the truth).

I liked that the ending didn't tie everything up neatly with a great big ribbon. You're not sure if Pell is going to be happy with the life she's chosen, or how things are going to work out between her and her lover and her sister, but at the same time you do know that Pell is strong enough to handle whatever challenges life throws at her. In the end, this isn't really a book about finding happiness - it's a book about simply finding a place where you can be yourself, and be content.

So should I read this book or what?
If you're looking for something light without the saccharine toothache that is chick lit, this is the book for you!

I guess kind of related link of the day since Pell's father is a preacher: 10 Gruesome Bible Scenes Recreated in Lego! I can't even remember where I got this link from, but it is pretty lulzy.

1 comment:

Sadako said...

Sounds cool; I'll check it out some time!