Set in rural nineteenth century England, this book relates the story of girl on the cusp of womanhood who gets a good look at the pre-ordained life spreading out in front of her and makes the decision to run–with her horse and her uninvited misfit of an adopted younger brother who has reasons of his own to run. She makes the choice to suffer hardships, as long as they are of her own making, rather than be less than what she thinks she can be. And suffer she does; though a reader might expect reward to come from all the suffering, this book does not take the expected turns–this young woman who wants to control her own destiny learns the difference between when she owes her attentiveness to others in her life and when she does not. She has to become ever stronger.
The Bride’s Farewell is a good book for high school girls. It is of a reading level that middle school girls can handle, but though there is no graphically inappropriate content for younger girls, there are themes underlying the main one of making one’s own way in a difficult world that are fairly mature, like the importance of knowing when a man will be a good one to trust your heart to. It has the added attraction of having lots of horse lore in it, thus also making it appealing to lovers of horses.
This is a well-written story that is compelling and fun to read. It is of value to young women on the cusp of their mature lives. It delivers both good entertainment and worthy illuminations–the kind of book I like to recommend.