"On the morning of her wedding, Pell Ridley creeps out of bed in the dark, kisses her sisters goodbye and flees - determined to escape a future that offers nothing but hard work and sorrow. She takes the only thing that truly belongs to her: Jack, a white horse. The road ahead is rich with longing, silence and secrets, and each encounter leads her closer to the untold story of her past. Then Pell meets a hunter, infuriating, mysterious and cold. Will he help her to find what she seeks? With all the hallmarks of Meg Rosoff's extraordinary writing, The Bride's Farewell also breaks new ground for this author, in a nineteenth century, Hardyesque setting. This is a moving story of love and lost things, with a core of deep, beautiful romance."
This is the second Rosoff book I've read; the first one was How I Live Now, which unexpectly blew me away. Oh yes, it was disturbing, but still quite powerful and definitely a book that will haunt me forever. I was excited to learn that this author had a new book coming out and since the story sounded fantastic, I had really high hopes for it, but alas I was a bit disappointed.
The story takes place in the 19th century and for me it had a very dark feel to it, which is not a bad thing as such, but I didn't enjoy it in this novel, there was just too much misery. I know life back then was different, but this story really was more grim than I'd expected (I can assure you I wasn't hoping for a fairy tale). As for the writing, I found it very fitting to the time period it was used in, but sadly that made the book a bit more difficult to read for me, especially at the beginning, but luckily things improved after the story picked up.
To quickly recap: Pell runs away before her wedding because she wants to escape the kind of life her mother leads. She's not in love with her groom so she takes her horse and sets off to leave when she is joined by her adopted brother Bean. She tries to find work at some fair and when she does, she gets ripped off and loses everything. In order to find her brother and her horse, she travels around the country and eventually moves in with a hunter she's met before. But she's determined to find what she's lost and on her quest she finds out some tragic news about her family, which changes her life, but eventually she finds her place in the world.
I did admire the main character Pell for running away on her own and being a truly independent woman in the 19th century; I thought she was a nice role model for young girls since she was a strong character who always provided for herself and never gave up on her quests, however hopeless they may be. On the other hand, it seemed to me that the she was being punished since the tragic family news and all the troubles that occurred were actually her fault in a way. So I'm not too sure what the author was trying to say here, but I still think Pell is an inspiring character.
I wouldn't describe the love story in the book as "deep, beautiful romance" - personally, I could hardly feel there was anything going on. Maybe it was the third person narration, but at times I felt that this book lacked the emotion I would expect in certain situations.
All in all, it's not a bad novel, it definitely has its advantages when it comes to the main character and writing and so on, but it just didn't strike a chord with me like her debut novel, even though I can't quite pinpoint why. Most of the reviews so far have been glowing though so it's probably just silly ol' me again. :)
overall rating: 3/5
plot: 3/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 3/5 | cover: 2/5