The Bride’s Farewell
Pell escapes from the poverty of her family and the poorly built home which is dominated by her self-righteous, drunken and violent father. She slips away in the early hours of her wedding day with her horse Jack and, reluctantly, her mute brother Bean.
Although she is fond of her betrothed, Birdie, she does not see herself filling his ideal role of mother to a ‘house full of children’. She has watched her own mother’s premature aging due to the endless, draining experience of repeated childbirth and trying to raise an ever-growing brood in poverty. In her naivety, she fails to consider the impact her sudden departure will have on Birdie and the family she is leaving behind. Her only plan is to go to the Salisbury horse fair and seek work.
Pell loses her horse and her brother. She meets a gypsy family, a man named Harris and another of few words called ‘Dogman’. The drama, heartache, occasional tenderness, harshness and disappointments that greet her show her character’s resilience and acceptance of life, as it is, as she strives to find those she has lost. Pell’s character has an affinity with horses and the love and understanding of them features throughout the book.
The day-to-day life and attitudes of people in the 19th century are shown through the careful detail included around the plot. Pell’s story is one of quiet determination, to work your way through life’s hardship, yet never losing sight of your goal. She learns to love and let go, as Pell matures and discovers her own destiny.
This is a beautifully written, engaging and captivating book for older children and adults alike.