The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff
RATING : ★★★★★ (5/5!)
Meg Rosoff does not disappoint! This may be one of the best pieces of historical fiction I’ve read, no hyperbole. Set in “eighteen fifty-something”, this tale gives a glimpse of Victorian life that has elements of both Dickens and Hardy while retaining unquestionable originality.
The story follows the titular bride, Pell Ridley, in her wanderings through Wiltshire county after running away from home on the dawn of her wedding. Like the other books I’ve read by Rosoff, there’s the presence of an interesting hook and an intriguing setting, but the story is really driven by the unique characterization. Though some may oversimplify the tale into a romance, there are much deeper motivations. In a world full of drunken men, hypocritical preachers, penury, and endless struggle, Pell emerges as a resourceful, feminist heroine without being an unrealistic trope. Rosoff cleverly uses Pell’s lifelong relationship with horses to round out the story, revealing the author’s impressive equine knowledge. Rosoff also manages to deftly set her characters in this historic period without overwhelming readers with cues to the period setting; again, the emphasis is on the characters and how they act in the world, rather than describing the world and the characters that move in it.
A satisfying and quick read with a few twists thrown in. I definitely recommend!