Sunday, June 13, 2010


The Bride's Farewell

by Meg Rosoff

Pell is intended to marry a boy with whom she has a great friendshp, but no love. In fact, though she is of age and from a terribly poor family, and despite the fact that marrying him would represent an improvement in her life, she has no wish to marry at all, and decides to run away and see if she can't find a way to ply the farrier's trade that she has learned growing up or make money from her gift for working with horses. As she leaves, her brother, a mute half-brother, presents himself and asks in his way to go with her.

The two set out on the road, with little to no resources outside of a horse, a woollen shawl, and a few pennies. They live in rough times in a rural area, so while they receive a few small kindnesses, most people view them as suspicious or as potential victims, so they must be careful.

She does meet someone promising at one point, hangs her hopes on him, only to be disappointed when he leaves the city without paying her his due. Meanwhile, her brother follows him, so by the time she returns from a small errand, she has lost brother, horse, and hopes of money.

How she fares on her own, searching for both the man who has wronged her and her lost brother, makes for a tale with many twists and turns, heart-catching moments, disappointments, and small victories. Perhaps Pell's most amazing gift is her tenacity, and she proves herself made of the very iron she knows how to mold as she faces one trial and another.

The book is, of course, lovely, as Rosoff is a terrific writer, and the end is, not to give much away, one that left me satisfied without being so miraculously happy as to ring false.

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