The Bride's Farewell

The Bride's Farewell
Meg Rosoff
Viking, 2009

You know how "They" always tell you to not judge a book by its cover? I rarely follow that rule. For better or for worse, a cover will catch my attention and draw me in, often getting me to read a book I know nothing about. (Sometimes the reverse is true, and a cover will deter - or at least delay - me from reading something I end up enjoying). Choosing-by-cover sometimes has me deserting a book because it's just not going anywhere, but other times I discover a story that is so worth the reading. The Bride's Farewell was one of the latter: the cover caught my eye, as I was unpacking a book delivery at the high school, and I kept picking it up and looking at throughout the day. When it was time to go, the book went with me. (The librarian said she thought it was something I'd like when she saw it, so that helped me justify the 'cover love' a little).

I did not have any preconceived ideas going into this reading - basically, I knew it was historical fiction, and started when a girl ran away the wee hours of the morning before she was to marry her childhood sweetheart. (And, of course, that the cover was totally amazing). I was fascinated by the story of Pell Ridley, and her escape from the life she was expected to lead - jumping straight into the great, vast unknown. Pell was not like the other girls, and everyone knew it - except, perhaps, herself. She knew she could not settle down into the quiet, settled existence that should have been hers, but she did not seem to fully understand why. There's a wild freedom to Pell - something restless and wandering that I could recognize and identify with on some levels. So it's the story of Pell's search for freedom and belonging. But it's also a story of love, and family, and searching - not just for where you belong, but for simply searching. It's a short little novel, but it's got some very interesting thoughts and observations. It's not a sunshine-and-roses type of story, but it is one that I enjoyed, probably because it made me think a little, and - while being set so very far away from me - had traces of humanity I could recognize.

Also, an 'added bonus' for me was the prevalence of horses and horsetalk - once upon a time, almost everything I read was a horse story of some form or fashion. And to discover that there was a good deal of horseyness to this story? I had a happy moment of revisiting childhood reading ... Plus, there's talk about Gypsy horses! And I love Gypsy horses! (One day, I dearly hope to have a Gypsy Vanner gelding of my own).

Book provided by my local library.

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